Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

6.1: Prelude to Solutions

  • Page ID
    303861
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    If you watch any of the medical dramas on television, you may have heard a doctor (actually an actor) call for an intravenous solution of “Ringer’s lactate” (or “lactated Ringer’s” or "Ri-Lac"). So what is Ringer’s lactate?

    Intravenous (IV) solutions are administered for two main reasons:

    1. to introduce necessary substances into the bloodstream, such as ions for proper body function, sugar and other food substances for energy, or drugs to treat a medical condition, and
    2. to increase the volume of the bloodstream.

    Many people with acute or long-term medical conditions have received some type of an IV solution.

    One basic IV solution, called a normal saline solution, is simply a dilute solution of NaCl dissolved in water. Normal saline is 9.0 g of NaCl dissolved in each liter of solution. Ringer’s lactate is a normal saline solution that also has small amounts of potassium and calcium ions mixed in. In addition, it contains about 2.5 g of lactate ions (C3H5O3) per liter of solution. The liver metabolizes lactate ions into bicarbonate (HCO3) ions, which help maintain the acid-base balance of blood. Many medical problems, such as heart attacks and shock, affect the acid-base balance of blood, and the presence of lactate in the IV solution eases problems caused by this imbalance.

    Physicians can select from a range of premade IV solutions, in accordance with a patient’s particular needs. Ringer’s lactate is commonly used when a patient’s blood volume must be increased quickly. Another frequently used IV solution, called D5W, is a 5% solution of dextrose (a form of sugar) in water.


    6.1: Prelude to Solutions is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?