Evaluation of a protocol for hypertonic saline administration in acute euvolemic symptomatic hyponatremia: A prospective observational trial

Indian J Crit Care Med. 2010 Oct;14(4):170-4. doi: 10.4103/0972-5229.76079.


Context: Acute symptomatic hyponatremia is a frequent yet poorly studied clinical problem.

Aims: To develop a non-weight based protocol for the treatment of acute symptomatic hyponatremia.

Settings and design: Observational study in a Multi-disciplinary Intensive Care Unit of an urban tertiary care hospital.

Materials and methods: Patients aged >18 years, admitted with euvolemic acute symptomatic severe hyponatremia (defined as serum sodium <120 meq/l with symptoms <24 hours), formed the study population. On confirmation of euvolemic status clinically and by laboratory investigations, patients were administered 100 ml of 3% NaCl over a period of 4 hours irrespective of the weight of the patient, followed by reassessment of serum Na at the end of 4 hours. The volume of hypertonic saline (in ml) required to increase serum Na by 8 meq/l was calculated using the formula: 100 × 8/increment in serum Na observed with 100 ml hypertonic saline. This volume was infused over the next 20 hours. To monitor renal water diuresis which may contribute to overcorrection, the urine specific gravity was monitored every 4 hours for sudden decrease of ≥ 0.010 from the baseline value. Measurement of serum Na was repeated if a fall in the urine specific gravity was observed and subsequently repeated every 4 hours. If no fall occurs in urine specific gravity, serum Na measurement was repeated at 12, 20 and at 24 hours (0 hour being the initiation of 100 ml hypertonic saline). The volume of infusate was adjusted if an excessive increment of serum Na (greater than 3 meq at 8 hours, 4 meq at 12 hours, 5 meq at 16 hours and 6 meq at 20 hours) was observed. Baseline characteristics were compared using chi-square test and Mann-Whitney U test.

Results: 58 patients formed the study cohort. The mean age was 58 years. The mean serum Na on admission was 114 meq/l. Administration of 100 ml hypertonic saline resulted in a mean increase in serum Na of 2 meq/l. The mean increase in serum Na over 24 hours was 9 meq/l and mean volume of hypertonic saline required for a serum Na increment of 8 meq/l was 600 ml.

Conclusions: The non-weight based protocol with monitoring for water diuresis is reasonably an effective strategy in the treatment of acute euvolemic symptomatic hyponatremia.

Keywords: Hypertonic saline; protocol; symptomatic hyponatremia.