Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 65 (12), 1587-94

Fatal Hypernatremia From Exogenous Salt Intake: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature


Fatal Hypernatremia From Exogenous Salt Intake: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature

K G Moder et al. Mayo Clin Proc.

Erratum in

  • Mayo Clin Proc 1991 Apr;66(4):439


Hypernatremia is a common electrolyte disturbance, most often caused by volume depletion. Hypernatremia due to sodium excess occurs less frequently, and fatal hypernatremia solely from ingestion of table salt is rare. We describe a 41-year-old man who had seizures and hypernatremia after ingestion of a supersaturated salt water solution intended for gargling. He had consumed approximately a third cup of table salt (approximately 70 to 90 g of salt or 1,200 to 1,500 meq of sodium). His initial serum sodium concentration was 209 meq/liter. Hypotonic fluid therapy was given to provide free water and to correct the hypernatremia gradually. Our patient, however, failed to recover from the initial insult and died 3 days later. Review of the literature revealed 10 adult and 20 pediatric cases of hypernatremia attributable to exogenous intake of salt. The type of therapy (fluid or peritoneal dialysis), the type of fluid used, and the rate of correction of hypernatremia did not influence survival. The age of the patient and the initial serum sodium concentration were the most important prognostic indicators. Both very young patients and those with lesser degrees of hypernatremia had a better rate of survival than did other patients. In addition, our review illustrates the surprisingly small amount of salt that can cause severe hypernatremia and the danger of using salt or saline as an emetic.

Comment in

Similar articles

  • Survival of Acute Hypernatremia Due to Massive Soy Sauce Ingestion
    DJ Carlberg et al. J Emerg Med 45 (2), 228-31. PMID 23735849. - Case Reports
    Emergency physicians should consider rapidly lowering serum sodium with hypotonic intravenous fluids as a potential management strategy for acute severe hypernatremia sec …
  • [Fatal Hypernatremia Due to Accidental Administration of Table Salt]
    I Martos Sánchez et al. An Esp Pediatr 53 (5), 495-8. PMID 11141375. - Case Reports
    Hypernatremia is a common electrolyte abnormality, but it is rarely attributable to excess sodium. Hypernatremia due to exogenous salt intake, caused either by accidental …
  • [An 83-year-old Woman With Coma and Severe Hypernatremia]
    T Engjom et al. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 128 (3), 316-7. PMID 18268788. - Case Reports
    On the basis of elevated serum sodium and urine sodium, normovolemia and normal diuresis, we concluded that hypernatremia was caused by salt intoxication. Our patient die …
  • Pathogenesis and Treatment of Hypernatremia
    SK Kang et al. Nephron 92 Suppl 1, 14-7. PMID 12401933. - Review
    Two aspects of hypernatremia are emphasized in this discussion: pathogenesis and treatment. Hypernatremia rarely develops with increased water loss alone; there must be a …
  • Hypernatremia
    RM Hardy. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 19 (2), 231-40. PMID 2648664. - Review
    Hypernatremia is a potentially life-threatening electrolyte abnormality. This problem develops most often because of loss of water from the animal, but in rare cases hype …
See all similar articles

Cited by 9 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


LinkOut - more resources