The effect of oxygen on sodium excretion in hypoxemic patients with chronic obstructive lung disease

Chest. 1990 Apr;97(4):840-4. doi: 10.1378/chest.97.4.840.


In advanced chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), sodium retention is common, associated with reduction in renal plasma flow (RPF) and stimulation of the renin-aldosterone (PRA-PA) system, two abnormalities due to or influenced by hypercapnia: the independent role of hypoxemia in perturbing sodium homeostasis is unknown. In five stable patients with COLD (FEV1 = 0.9 +/- 0.21, mean +/- SE) with mild edema, during two weeks of a low sodium diet (one week on room air: pH = 7.39 +/- 0.02; PaO2 = 55 +/- 4 mm Hg; PaCO2 = 49 +/- 4 mm Hg; and one week on O2: pH = 7.38 +/- 0.01; PaO2 = 72 +/- 6 mm Hg; PaCO2 = 52 +/- 4 mm Hg) we monitored sodium balance, systemic and renal hemodynamics, plasma sodium and potassium, PRA, PA, and atrial natriuretic hormone (ANH). During air breathing, patients uniformly showed a depression of RPF despite normal cardiac output; plasma hormone levels did not differ from controls but there was elevation (greater than 2 SD above the normal mean) of PRA in four patients, PA in two patients, and ANH in two of five patients. During O2 breathing, urinary sodium increased significantly from 67 +/- 7 to 102 +/- 10 mEq/24 h. Surprisingly, the patients experienced a small but significant weight gain (0.6 +/- 0.1 kg). None of the other variables was affected by O2 therapy. The following conclusions were reached: in advanced COLD, correction of hypoxemia results in sodium diuresis, indicating that hypoxemia (in the presence of hypercapnia) contributes to sodium retention. The mechanism for this beneficial effect of O2 will require further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / blood
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / blood
  • Body Weight
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / blood
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Renal Circulation
  • Renin / blood
  • Sodium / urine*


  • Aldosterone
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor
  • Sodium
  • Renin