The Use of Portal Vein Pulsatility to Differentiate Hypervolemic and Hypovolemic Hyponatremia

Case Rep Crit Care. 2019 Jul 15;2019:9591823. doi: 10.1155/2019/9591823. eCollection 2019.


Hypotonic hyponatremia is a common electrolyte disorder defined by a blood serum sodium value of less than 136 meq/L. A challenge in managing hyponatremia is accurately determining the etiology for the free water excess as management can markedly differ. Accurate diagnosis of the etiology of hypotonic hyponatremia requires precision in the determination of extracellular volume status. Determination of volume status has traditionally relied on physical examination, imaging modalities, and clinical gestalt, all of which are inaccurate. Portal vein pulsatility is an easy to perform bedside ultrasound imaging study which can be used as a marker for hypervolemia and venous congestion. We present 2 cases of hypervolemic hyponatremia in which portal vein pulsatility was used in the diagnosis and management and as a marker for efficacy of treatment.

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  • Case Reports