Dextrose 5%

This is essentially just free water. No anions, no cations. No added buffer, no antimicrobial agent, no artificial colours or preservatives. For flavor, 278mmol of dextrose is added. If you were trying to use this as a source of nutrient, the whole litre would yield 835 kJ, or 198 calories


contents and properties of 5% dextrose

The pKa of dextrose is 12.9, so at the pH of the bag this monosaccharide is in a non-ionised state. If you were forced to mix this in some nightmarish situation where you have sterile glucose and sterile water but no actual pre-made Baxter bag, you would throw 50g of glucose into 1 litre of water. That would make a 5g per 100ml (or a 5% by weight) solution.

Dextrose 10% and 50%

Concentrated dextrose is still just free water, but syrupy. Extremely syrupy. This sort of stuff should only be given via a central line. Red blood cells, in contact with such hyperosmolar fluid, will shrivel and die. Ditto the fragile venous endothelium. Administration of such things via a peripheral vein will reward one with nothing but thrombosis and phlebitis.

contents and properties of 10% ad 50% dextrose

Ever wonder what a glucometer would read when you dribble some 5% dextrose solution onto it?

It will say "HI", stupidly.

Because it cant read such a high value. Indeed even 5% dextrose is too high a value for it to comprehend. It is calibrated to perceive a range of glucose which is compatible with human life, much like the human eye is only calibrated to perceive "visible" light. At a glucose concentration above 30mmol/L one begins to feel quite ill. At around 60mmol/L, one may find oneself in a hyperosmolar coma. Think of it: normally your osmolality doesn't get above 290, so with an addition of 60 osmoles of glucose, you get an osmolality of 350mOsm/L.


From MIMS online, via CIAP; using Baxter Full PI data sheets. Those PI documents are word for word what you will find on the bags.  Additionally, the anaesthesiauk website has this page, with a summary of the relevant details. To find out more about the pH of intravenous solutions, you could pay JAMA for this article.