The syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone

G B Haycock
Pediatric Nephrology 1995, 9 (3): 375-81
The physiology of the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) from the posterior pituitary is briefly reviewed. The importance of both osmolar and non-osmolar stimuli is emphasised. Osmolar and non-osmolar factors usually reinforce each other; for example, hydropenia leads to hyperosmolality and hypovolaemia, both promoting ADH release, while hydration has the opposite effect. In disease, osmolar and non-osmolar factors may become dissociated leading to baroreceptor-mediated ADH release in the presence of hyponatraemia and hypo-osmolality. Examples include heart failure, glucocorticoid or thyroxine deficiency, hepatic cirrhosis and nephrotic syndrome with or without the superimposed effect of diuretics, i.e. conditions in which circulatory, and in particular effective arterial, volume is reduced. It is dangerous to label such conditions as 'inappropriate' secretion of ADH since the maintenance of circulating volume is at least as important a physiological requirement as the defence of tonicity. The syndrome of inappropriate secretion of ADH (SIADH) is uncommon in childhood and should only be diagnosed when physiological release of ADH in response to non-osmolar as well as osmolar factors has been excluded. Criteria for the correct identification of SIADH are discussed; the presence of continuing urinary sodium excretion in the presence of hyponatraemia and hypo-osmolality is essential to the diagnosis. SIADH in children is usually due to intracranial disease or injury. The mainstay of treatment is water restriction which reverses all the physiological abnormalities of the condition. Hypertonic saline is rarely indicated for the short-term control of neurological manifestations such as seizures. Drugs have little or no place in the treatment of SIADH in children.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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