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Hypernatraemia in an adult in-patient population.
  1. C. A. Long,
  2. P. Marin,
  3. A. J. Bayer,
  4. H. G. Shetty,
  5. M. S. Pathy
  1. Department of Geriatric Medicine, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, West Wing, UK.

    Abstract

    We report a retrospective study of hypernatraemia (serum sodium concentration greater than 150 mmol/l) in an adult in-patient population of a health district during one year. The incidence was 0.3% with at least 60% of cases developing after hospital admission, mainly in elderly patients. Dehydration appeared to be the major cause, with the use of diuretics, depressed conscious level or febrile illness implicated in a majority. Most patients had more than one contributory factor and iatrogenic causes were common. Associated illnesses were often severe and the in-hospital mortality was high (54%) regardless of age. Hypernatraemia in hospitalized patients should be largely avoidable and there is a need for greater awareness of the importance of active maintenance of hydration in susceptible patients.

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