This National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline covers the general principles for managing intravenous (IV) fluid therapy in hospital inpatients aged 16 and over with a range of conditions. It aims to help prescribers understand the optimal amount and composition of IV fluids to be administered and the best rate at which to give them, to improve fluid prescribing and outcomes among people in hospital.
The guideline does not cover pregnant women, and those with severe liver or renal disease, diabetes or burns.
 Weight-based potassium prescriptions should be rounded to the nearest common fluids available (for example, a 67 kg person should have fluids containing 20 mmol and 40 mmol of potassium in a 24-hour period). Potassium should not be added to intravenous fluid bags as this is dangerous.
There is a clear need for guidance on IV fluid therapy for general areas of hospital practice, covering both the prescription and monitoring of IV fluid and electrolyte therapy, and the training and educational needs of all hospital staff involved in IV fluid management.
The aim of this NICE guideline is to help prescribers understand the:
In developing the guideline, it was necessary to limit the scope by excluding patient groups with more specialised fluid prescribing needs. It is important to emphasise that the recommendations do not apply to patients under 16 years, pregnant women, and those with severe liver or renal disease, diabetes or burns. They also do not apply to patients needing inotropes and those on intensive monitoring, and so they have less relevance to intensive care settings and patients during surgical anaesthesia. Patients with traumatic brain injury (including patients needing neurosurgery) are also excluded. The scope of the guideline does not cover the practical aspects of administration (as opposed to the prescription) of IV fluids.
It is hoped that this guideline will lead to better fluid prescribing in hospitalised patients, reduce morbidity and mortality, and lead to better patient outcomes.
You can read the guideline on NICE's website.