Intravenous sugar solution

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An intravenous sugar solution is a solution with a sugar (usually glucose, a.k.a. dextrose, with water as the solvent) used for intravenous therapy, where it may function both as a means of maintaining tissue hydration and a means of parenteral nutrition.


Types of glucose/dextrose include:

  • D5W (5% dextrose in water), which consists of 278 mmol/L dextrose
  • D5NS (5% dextrose in normal saline), which, in addition, contains normal saline (0.90% w/v of NaCl).
    • D5 1/2NS 5% dextrose in half amount of normal saline (0.45% w/v of NaCl).[1]

The percentage is a mass percentage, so a 5% glucose/dextrose solution contains 50 mg/ml of glucose/dextrose (Quite simply, 5% dextrose means the solution contains 5g/100ml of solution).

Glucose provides energy 4 kcal/gram, so a 5% glucose solution provides 0.2 kcal/ml. If prepared from dextrose monohydrate, which provides 3.4 kcal/gram, a 5% solution provides 0.17 kcal/ml.[2]


Administering a 5% sugar solution peri- and postoperatively usually achieves a good balance between starvation reactions and hyperglycemia caused by sympathetic activation. A 10% solution may be more appropriate when the stress response from the reaction has decreased, after approximately one day after surgery. After more than approximately 2 days, a more complete regimen of total parenteral nutrition is indicated.

In patients with hypernatremia and euvolemia, free water can be replaced using either 5% D/W or 0.45% saline.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ eMedicine > Hypernatremia: Treatment & Medication By Ivo Lukitsch and Trung Q Pham. Updated: Apr 19, 2010
  2. ^ Calculating Parenteral Feedings D. Chen-Maynard at California State University, San Bernardino. Retrieved September 2010. HSCI 368