Cerebral salt wasting syndrome: a review

Neurosurgery. 1996 Jan;38(1):152-60. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199601000-00035.


Hyponatremia is frequently seen in neurosurgical patients and is often attributed to inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone. A number of studies in recent years have shown that hyponatremia in many patients with intracranial disease may actually be caused by cerebral salt wasting, in which a renal loss of sodium leads to hyponatremia and a decrease in extracellular fluid volume. The appropriate treatment of cerebral salt wasting fluid and salt replacement, is opposite from the usual treatment of hyponatremia caused by inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone. This review summarizes the evidence in favor of cerebral salt wasting in patients with intracranial disease, examines the possible mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon, and discusses methods for diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Volume / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Brain Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / physiopathology*
  • Inappropriate ADH Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Concentrating Ability / physiology
  • Natriuresis / physiology
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / physiopathology