Hyponatremia: pathophysiology and treatment, a pediatric perspective

A B Gruskin, A Sarnaik
Pediatric Nephrology 1992, 6 (3): 280-6
Hyponatremia is the most commonly observed electrolyte abnormality in hospitalized children. The most serious consequences of hyponatremia and its treatment involve the central nervous system (CNS). Important factors determining the development of clinical symptomatology include: the rate of fall in serum sodium, and the severity and duration of hyponatremia. Acute hyponatremia is associated with increased brain water resulting in varying grades of encephalopathy whereas the osmoregulatory mechanism allows normalization of CNS water content in chronic hyponatremia. It is recommended that the therapy for hyponatremia be initiated on the basis of the presence or absence of symptoms. An increase of 4-6 mmol/l in serum sodium over 10-15 min is recommended in symptomatic patients. Rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia may result in osmotic dehydration syndrome and therefore should be avoided.

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