Sodium bicarbonate

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  • Type: 8.4% is common cardiac formulation
    • 8.4% is 1 mEq/mL
  • Dosage Forms: 5% ; 7.5% ; 8.4% ; 4.2% ; 4% ; 325mg ; 150 mEq/1000 mL-D5% ; 150 mEq/1150 mL-D5%
  • Routes of Administration: IV
  • Common Trade Names: N/A
  • Abbreviation: NaHOC3

Adult Dosing

Cardiac Arrest

50 mL (1 amp) IV push for severe acidemia and patient is adequately ventilated

  • Frequency[1]:
    • 1 mEq/kg IV bolus dose initially (~1-2 amps for average adult)
    • 0.5 mEq/kg/dose q10min
    • OR tailor to serial ABGs

Severe Metabolic Acidemia (pH<7.1)

  • IV drip
    • 150 mEq/1000 mL inD5W
    • May reduce 28 day mortality in patients with severe AKI and decrease need for dialysis (although this study used 4.2% sodium bicarbonate, a product not widely available within the United States)[2]

Serum alkalinization (toxicology)

  • Enhance urinary elimination of salicylates, methotrexate and phenobarbital
  • Goal: serum pH of 7.5, urinary pH of 8.0
  • Check K+ as well
  • IV drip
    • 150 mEq (3 amps) of 8.4% solution in 1000 ml D5W + potassium 20-40 mEq, max. 250 cc/hour

Pediatric Dosing

Cardiac Arrest

  • 1 mL/kg IV push for severe acidemia and patient is adequately ventilated
  • Sodium bicarbonate administration in cardiac arrest has not been shown to improve survival to discharge[3][4]
  • ACLS guidelines recommend against routine use of sodium bicarbonate in cardiac arrest although there may be benefit in the setting of hyperkalemia or tricyclic antidepressant overdose

Special Populations

Renal Dosing

  • Adult:
  • Pediatric:

Hepatic Dosing

  • Adult:
  • Pediatric:


  • Allergy to class/drug
  • Relative:
    • Ongoing chloride loss (vomiting, gastrointestinal suction, with concurrent diuretics that induce hypochloremia)

Adverse Reactions


  • Extravasation- cellulitis, tissue necrosis, ulcer
  • Metabolic alkalosis
  • Hypernatremia [5]



  • Half-life:
  • Metabolism:
  • Excretion:

Mechanism of Action


  • Sodium acetate can be used as a substitute for sodium bicarbonate during times of critical shortages[6]
    • Can be used to treat TCA and ASA toxicity
    • Cannot be given as a rapid bolus - give 1 mEq/kg over 15-20 minutes to avoid hypotension

See Also


  1. eMedicine. Sodium Bicarbonate.
  2. Jaber, S., Paugam, C., Futier, E., Lefrant, J.-Y., Lasocki, S., Lescot, T., … BICAR-ICU Study Group. (2018). Sodium bicarbonate therapy for patients with severe metabolic acidaemia in the intensive care unit (BICAR-ICU): a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled, phase 3 trial. The Lancet, 392(10141), 31–40.
  3. Dybvik T, Strand T, Steen PA. Buffer therapy during out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Resuscitation. 1995 Apr;29(2):89-95. doi: 10.1016/0300-9572(95)00850-s. PMID: 7659873.
  4. Vukmir RB, Katz L; Sodium Bicarbonate Study Group. Sodium bicarbonate improves outcome in prolonged prehospital cardiac arrest. Am J Emerg Med. 2006 Mar;24(2):156-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2005.08.016. PMID: 16490643.
  5. Aufderheide TP, Martin DR, Olson DW, Aprahamian C, Woo JW, Hendley GE, Hargarten KM, Thompson B. Prehospital bicarbonate use in cardiac arrest: a 3-year experience. Am J Emerg Med. 1992 Jan;10(1):4-7. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(92)90115-e. PMID: 1736913.
  6. Neavyn MJ,Boyer EW, Bird SB, Babu KM. Sodium Acetate as a Replacement for Sodium Bicarbonate in Medical Toxicology: a Review. J Med Toxicol. 2013;9:250–254.