Fluid Volume Excess : Nursing Intervention

Fluid Volume Excess


  • Fluid intake or fluid retention exceeds the fluid needs of the body.
  • Fluid volume excess is also called overhydration or fluid overload.
  • The goal of treatment is to restore fluid balance, correct electrolyte imbalances if present, and eliminate or control the underlying cause of the overload.

Learn about a condition that can occur in the body called fluid volume excess. Learn about how it looks, feels and sounds in the body as well as the actions nurses take in treatment.




Isotonic overhydration

  • Known as hypervolemia, isotonic overhydration results from excessive fluid in the extracellular fluid compartment.
  • Only the extracellular fluid compartment is expanded, and fluid does not shift between the extracellular and intracellular compartments.
  • Isotonic overhydration causes circulatory overload and interstitial edema; when severe or when it occurs in a client with poor cardiac function, congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema can result.

Hypertonic overhydration

  • Occurrence of hypertonic overhydration is rare and is caused by an excessive sodium intake.
  • Fluid is drawn from the intracellular fluid compartment; the extracellular fluid volume expands, and the intracellular fluid volume contracts.

Hypotonic overhydration

  • Hypotonic overhydration is known as water intoxication.
  • The excessive fluid moves into the intracellular space, and all body fluid compartments expand.
  • Electrolyte imbalances occur as a result of dilution.


  • Isotonic overhydration
    • Inadequately controlled IV therapy
    • Renal failure
    • Long-term corticosteroid therapy

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