Treatment of acute hypernatremia caused by sodium overload in adults: A systematic review

Takahiro Goshima, Teruhiko Terasawa, Mitsunaga Iwata, Asako Matsushima, Tomonori Hattori, Hiroshi Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background:Rapid-onset, acute hypernatremia caused by sodium overload is a rare, life-threatening condition. Although experts recommend rapid correction of sodium concentration [Na] based on pathophysiological theories, only a few reports have documented the specific details of sodium correction methods. The objective of this study was to systematically review the reported treatment regimens, achieved [Na] correction rates, and treatment outcomes.Methods:PubMed, Ichushi-database, and references without language restrictions, from inception to January 2021, were searched for studies that described ≥1 adult (aged ≥18 years) patients with rapid-onset hypernatremia caused by sodium overload, whose treatment was initiated ≤12 hours from the onset. The primary outcome of interest was the [Na] correction rate associated with mortality.Results:Eighteen case reports (18 patients; median [Na], 180.5 mEq/L) were included. The cause of sodium overload was self-ingestion in 8 patients and iatrogenic sodium gain in 10 patients; baseline [Na] and symptoms at presentation were comparable for both groups. Individualized rapid infusion of dextrose-based solutions was the most commonly adopted fluid therapy, whereas hemodialysis was also used for patients already treated with hemodialysis. The correction rates were more rapid in 13 successfully treated patients than in 5 fatal patients. The successfully treated patients typically achieved [Na] ≤160 within 8 hours, [Na] ≤150 within 24 hours, and [Na] ≤145 within 48 hours. Hyperglycemia was a commonly observed treatment-related adverse event.Conclusion:The limited empirical evidence derived from case reports appears to endorse the recommended, rapid, and aggressive sodium correction using dextrose-based hypotonic solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E28945
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25-02-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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