Hyponatremia and ultramarathon running

JAMA. 1986 Feb 14;255(6):772-4.


Two ultramarathon runners were hospitalized with hyponatremic encephalopathy after completing 80 and 100 km (50 and 62 miles), respectively, of the 1983 American Medical Joggers Association ultramarathon race in Chicago. The two runners consumed such large quantities of free water during the race that apparent water intoxication developed. Both recovered satisfactorily after treatment with intravenous saline. The hyponatremia was caused primarily by increased intake and retention of dilute fluids and contributed to by excessive sweat sodium loss. A possible explanation for the postrace onset of symptoms might be the sudden absorption of fluid in the gastrointestinal tract after exercise ceased, with subsequent further dilution of the plasma sodium. Hyponatremia, which has not been commonly associated with exercise, should be considered as a possible consequence of ultraendurance events.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drinking
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Running*
  • Solutions
  • Sweating
  • Water Intoxication / etiology


  • Solutions