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Dehydration and Volume Depletion

Author: Dana Bartlett, RN, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI

CE: 2 hours Pharmacology: 0.5 hour
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 696 reviews

Course Summary

The average adult’s body consists of a significant amount of water. A normal balance of water in the body is crucial to maintaining good health and managing diseases. The consequence of fluid losses can lead to significant health problems if fluid loss is not remedied. Establishing the cause or causes of fluid balance abnormalities can be challenging. A clinician must be able to interpret clinical observations and laboratory tests to understand if a patient has normal water loss that may be replenished or whether there is a medical reason for the water loss that requires intervention. Dehydration and volume depletion are associated with water loss but they are distinctive concepts that require different management and treatment approaches. A careful assessment of a patient’s symptoms and laboratory results can guide a clinician into a proper diagnosis and lay a foundation for a treatment plan that will provide the patient with the best outcome.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.         Introduction

II.         Overview: Water Balance and Function in the Body

1. Functions of Water
2. Defining Dehydration and Volume Depletion
3. Total Body Water

III.         Maintaining Fluid Balance

IV.         Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change

     Mechanisms of Water Intake

V.         Primary Types of Fluid Loss

1. Gastrointestinal Fluid Loss
2. Renal Fluid LossSkin and Fluid Loss
3. Third Space Sequestration of Fluid
4. Decreased Intake

VI.         Assessment of Dehydration and Volume Depletion

1. Signs and Symptoms
2. Laboratory Tests

VII.         Treatment: Fluid Maintenance and Replacement

1. Mild Dehydration
2. Maintenance Fluid Therapy
3. Fluid Therapy for Volume Depletion
4. Dehydration in Children

VIII.         Case Study: Dehydration in an Infant


IX.         Summary


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