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Study of outcomes associated with hyponatremia and hypernatremia in children.

Sodium is usually included in hospitals' critical values lists; however, the values at which sodium is considered to be life threatening (critical) vary among hospitals. Studies of outcomes associated with hyponatremia and hypernatremia in pediatric patients have not been published. We performed a retrospective chart review of sodium values of <124 mmol/L and >155 mmol/L that occurred during a 6-month period. Univariate and multivariate analyses for mortality risk were performed with the different variables. A total of 702 (1.32%) sodium tests fell in the study reference range, with 166 being <124 mmol/L and 536 being >155 mmol/L. Although not statistically significant, mortality was higher (38.5%) in patients with sodium values ≤ 120 mmol/L than in those with values ≥ 170 mmol/L (25%) or in patients with other values (<14%). Underlying conditions prevented assessment of morbidity associated with hyponatremia or hypernatremia. Treatment was instituted within 4 hours in 80% of cases (50% within 1 hour). Multivariate analysis showed increased risk of death for hyponatremic patients if they were premature or had heart abnormalities, while for hypernatremic patients the risk increased when other critical values were present. In conclusion, sodium levels of ≤ 120 mmol/L and ≥ 170 mmol/L have increased mortality in children; however, the risk of death is not statistically different when compared to risk in patients with milder hyponatremia and hypernatremia. Risk factors for death in hyponatremic and hypernatremic patients may primarily reflect the severity of the underlying conditions present in these children, such as prematurity and heart abnormalities, rather than the sodium derangement.

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