Hypernatraemia

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Contents

Introduction

A plasma [Na] > 150 mmol/l

Types

Water depletion (Hypovolaemic hypernatraemia)

  • Water deprivation
    • Because hypernatraemia is a strong stimulus to thirst, reduced water intake is almost always involuntary (e.g. coma, dysphagia, extreme depression). Patients with water losses will become hypernatraemic more quickly:
  • Loss of large volumes of hypotonic fluid

Treatment is by oral replacement of water in mild cases; 5% dextrose (i.v.) in moderate cases; and a combination of 5% dextrose and 0.9% (150mmol/l) saline (i.v.) if dehydration is severe, as volume expansion requires salt as well as water.

Hypervolaemic hypernatraemia

  • Iatrogenic infusion of too much [Na]

This will usually be a strong driver to thirst in a conscious, capable patient. Treatment: stop giving them sodium!


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