March 21, 2014

IV Fluid Shortages and Conservation

Health care providers around the country are experiencing shortages of intravenous fluids, especially saline. The Drug Information Service of the University of Utah and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) created a document called “IV Fluid Conservation Strategies” to assist hospitals and health care systems in conserving IV fluids.

WSHA joins The American Hospital Association (AHA) in encouraging health care professionals to consider the suggested strategies for managing their supply of IV fluids. AHA advises the use of professional judgment in applying the suggestions, taking into account the diverse needs of individual organizations.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with manufacturers and looking into alternate sources of these important medications. However, the shortages are not expected to end for several more months.


Caused in part by increased demand and production issues from manufactures, these shortages have the potential to adversely affect patient care. "The current shortages of IV fluid are unacceptable and must be resolved quickly to prevent a negative impact on patient care," wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack 
in a letter encouraging the FDA to take action on the issue. While the shortage remains in effect, hospitals should understand the strategies available to mitigate its impact and implement them, as appropriate, in their organizations.

Please review the IV Fluid Conservation Strategies document and share it with appropriate members of your health care team, which may include pharmacists, nurse and physician leaders, and materials management. You can also check the 
FDA drug shortage website and the ASHP drug shortage website for the most recent information about the shortages. 

If you have any questions, please contact Amber Theel, Executive Director, Patient Safety at or (206) 577-1820 or Peggi Shapiro, Director, Disaster Readiness at or (206) 216-2864.

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