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Hypernatremia and moderate-to-severe hyponatremia are independent predictors of mortality in septic patients at emergency department presentation: A sub-group analysis of the need-speed trial.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Early risk stratification of septic patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) is challenging. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prognostic role of plasmatic sodium level (P Na+ ) derangements at ED presentation in septic patients.

METHODS: According to P Na+ at ED presentation patients were divided in eunatremic (136-145 mEq/L), hypernatremic (>145 mEq/L) and hyponatremic (<136 mEq/L). Hyponatremic patients were subsequently divided in mild (130-135 mEq/L), moderate (125-129 mEq/L) and severe (<125 mEq/L). 7 and 30-day mortality was evaluated according to P Na+ derangements and the degree of hyponatremia. The same analysis was then performed only in respiratory tract infection-related (RTI-r) sepsis patients.

RESULTS: 879 septic patients were included in this analysis, 40.3% had hyponatremia, 5.7% hypernatremia. Hypernatremia showed higher mortality rates at both endpoints compared to eunatremia and hyponatremia (p<0.0001 for both). Eunatremia and mild hyponatremia were compared vs. moderate-to-severe hyponatremia showing a significant difference in terms of 7 and 30-day survival (p = 0.004 and p = 0.007, respectively). The Cox proportional model identified as independent predictors of 7 and 30-day mortality moderate-to-severe hyponatremia (HR 4.89[2.38-10.03] and 1.79[1.07-3.01], respectively) and hypernatremia (HR 3.52[1.58-7.82] and 2.14[1.17-3.92], respectively). The same analysis was performed in patients with respiratory tract infection-related sepsis (n = 549), with similar results.

CONCLUSION: Both hypernatremia and moderate-to-severe hyponatremia at ED presentation independently predict mortality in septic patients, allowing early risk stratification and suggesting more aggressive therapeutic strategies.

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