The influence of postnatal respiratory adaptation on sodium handling in preterm neonates

Early Hum Dev. 1990 Jan;21(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(90)90106-s.


The relationship between sodium handling and alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (AaDO2) was studied in 26 preterm babies requiring ventilation from birth. The difference between sodium intake and urinary sodium excretion was determined in sequential, four hourly periods throughout the course of the respiratory illness. Sodium retention changed from positive (mean 1.42 mmol kg-1 day-1) during the phase of deteriorating respiratory function to negative (mean - 1.99 mmol kg-1 day-1) during improving respiratory function. This difference is highly significant (P less than 0.001). A temporal relationship is also shown, in the form of individual time plots of AaDO2 and sodium retention for each baby; changes in sodium handling parallel changes in AaDO2. The diuresis that accompanies improving respiratory function is characterised as a natriuresis, with free water clearance remaining unchanged before and after the point of improvement. We suggest that a primary change in sodium handling, triggered by postnatal respiratory adaptation, may initiate the contraction in extracellular fluid volume that characterises early postnatal existence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / metabolism*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Natriuresis*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sodium / metabolism*


  • Sodium