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Hyponatremia in critically ill patients.

Disorders of sodium and water metabolism are frequently encountered in hospitalized patients. Hyponatremia in critically ill patients can cause significant morbidity and mortality. Inappropriate treatment of hyponatremia can add to the problem. The diagnosis and management of salt and water abnormalities in critically ill patients is often challenging. The increasing knowledge about aquaporins and the role of vasopressin in water metabolism has enhanced our understanding of these disorders. The authors have outlined the general approach to the diagnosis and management of hyponatremia. A systematic approach by clinicians, using a detailed history, physical examination, and relevant diagnostic tests, will assist in efficient management of salt and water problems.

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