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March 22, 1971

The pH and Acidity of Intravenous Infusion Solutions

Author Affiliations

From the UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1971;215(12):1937-1940. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180250029005

Because intravenous infusion solutions have been criticized as being "acid" solutions, we compared pH and total acidity of several commonly used commercial solutions with solutions prepared in our own laboratory. The pH ranged from 4.2 to 7.1.—a 1,000-fold difference in hydrogen ion concentration. Titratable acidity varied only between 0.063 and 0.363 mEq/liter—a fivefold difference in acid content. Heat-sterilized dextrose solutions had a lower pH and slightly higher titratable acidity than did other solutions. Although pH ranged from 5.4 to 7.0, titratable acidity was similar for all solutions when they were sterilized without heat. Certain commercial solutions had greater than ten times the acid content of other solutions. Excluding commercial solutions in which pH is adjusted, we conclude that pH is far more variable than acid content.