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[Disorders of serum sodium in emergency patients : salt in the soup of emergency medicine].

Der Anaesthesist 2013 April
Electrolyte disorders are common and potentially fatal laboratory findings in emergency patients. Approximately 20 % of patients in the emergency department present with either hyponatremia or hypernatremia. Recently it was shown that disorders of serum sodium are not only an expression of the severity of the underlying disease but independent predictors for the outcome of patients. They directly influence patient daily life by causing not only gait and concentration disturbances but also an increased tendency to fall together with a reduced bone mass. Given these new data it is even more important to detect and adequately correct dysnatremia in patients in the emergency department. Acute, symptomatic dysnatremia should be corrected promptly by use of 3 % NaCl for hyponatremia and 5 % glucose for hypernatremia. A close monitoring of serum sodium concentration is, however, essential in any case of correction of hyponatremia or hypernatremia in order to avoid rapid overcorrection and subsequent complications. A profound knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the development of hyponatremia, e.g. diuretics, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver and hypernatremia, e.g. dehydration, infusions, diuretics and osmotic diuresis is essential. The present article describes the epidemiology, etiology and correction of hyponatremia and hypernatremia on the basis of current knowledge with special emphasis on emergency department patients.

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