Epidemiology of hyponatremia

Semin Nephrol. 2009 May;29(3):227-38. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2009.03.004.


Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte abnormality encountered in clinical practice with wide-ranging prognostic implications in a variety of conditions. This review summarizes the available literature on the epidemiology of hyponatremia in both hospitalized and ambulatory-based patients. Particular attention is given to hyponatremia in the geriatric population, drug-induced hyponatremia, exercise-associated hyponatremia, and the medical costs of hyponatremia. The frequency and outcomes of hyponatremia in congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, pneumonia, and human immunodeficiency virus infection also are reviewed. Although the knowledge on hyponatremia has expanded in the past few decades, the disorder largely remains an underdiagnosed condition. Substantial additional work is needed to improve the awareness of hyponatremia among medical professionals. The advent of vasopressin-receptor antagonists as a plausible treatment option for some forms of euvolemic and hypervolemic hyponatremia now offers the opportunity to gain further insights into the prognostic impact of hyponatremia and its management in various clinical settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence