Q:

Is 10 percent NaCI isotonic, hypertonic or hypotonic to red blood cells?

A:

Quick Answer

According to information provided by the Anaesthesia Education Website and Wikipedia, a 10 percent NaCl solution is hypertonic to red blood cells. Normal plasma osmolality in humans is between 285 and 295 milliosmols per kilogram, while 10 percent saline has an osmolality of over 3000 milli-osmols per kilogram.

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Full Answer

Wikipedia explains that the tonicity is related to the osmotic pressure gradient of two solutions that are separated by a semipermeable membrane. If red blood cells that have the same osmolality as plasma come into contact with a hypertonic solution, the water from the red blood cells flows out of the cells in order to maintain the equilibrium, causing them to shrink.

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