Objective: Abnormal serum sodium levels (hyponatremia and hypernatremia) are frequently observed during the acute period after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and may worsen cerebral edema and mass effect. We performed this study to determine the prognostic significance of serum sodium concentration abnormalities.
Methods: We analyzed prospectively collected data for the placebo treatment group in a clinical trial conducted at 54 neurosurgical centers in North America. The presence of hypernatremia (serum sodium concentration of >145 mmol/L) and hyponatremia (serum sodium concentration of <135 mmol/L) was determined with serum sodium measurements obtained at admission and 3, 6, and 9 days after SAH. The effects of hypernatremia and hyponatremia on the risk of symptomatic vasospasm and on 3-month outcomes were analyzed after adjustment for the following potential confounding factors: age, sex, preexisting hypertension, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, initial mean arterial pressure, subarachnoid clot thickness, intraventricular blood or intraparenchymal hematoma, ventricular dilation, and aneurysm size and location.
Results: Of 298 patients in the analysis, 58 (19%) developed hypernatremia and 88 (30%) developed hyponatremia. Hypernatremia was significantly associated with poor outcomes (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-6.1). A positive correlation was observed between the highest sodium values recorded and Glasgow Outcome Scale scores at 3 months (P < 0.0001 by analysis of variance). Hyponatremia was not associated with 3-month outcomes (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 0.9-4.3). Neither hypernatremia nor hyponatremia was associated with the risk of symptomatic vasospasm.
Conclusion: Hyponatremia seems to be more common than hypernatremia after SAH. However, hypernatremia after SAH is independently associated with poor outcomes, and this association is independent of previously identified outcome predictors, including age and admission Glasgow Coma Scale scores. Further studies are needed to define the underlying mechanism of this association.