International Journal of Medical Sciences

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25 March 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2013; 10(6):747-750. doi:10.7150/ijms.5868

Short Research Communication

Why Is Saline So Acidic (and Does It Really Matter?)

Benjamin AJ Reddi

Consultant, Intensive Care Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital; Clinical Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Acute Care Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.


Commercial 0.9% saline solution for infusion has a pH around 5.5. There are many reasons for this acidity, some of them still obscure. It is also true that infusion of normal saline can lead to metabolic acidaemia, yet the link between the acidity of saline solution and the acidaemia it can engender is not straightforward. This commentary draws together the known and putative sources of acidity in saline solutions: it turns out that the acidity of saline solution is essentially unrelated to the acidaemia complicating saline infusion.

Keywords: saline, acidaemia, titratable acidity, crystalloid, balanced solution, Grotthuss.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Reddi BA. Why Is Saline So Acidic (and Does It Really Matter?). Int J Med Sci 2013; 10(6):747-750. doi:10.7150/ijms.5868. Available from