Purpose: Severe hyponatremia, defined as serum sodium concentration ([sNa]) ≤ 120 mEq/L, requires aggressive treatment to prevent potentially fatal cerebral edema, seizures, and other sequelae, but overcorrection can also result in life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage and demyelination. We compared the safety and efficacy of nasal desmopressin to conventional management for the prevention of [sNa] overcorrection. Material and methods: This retrospective analysis compared 47 patients treated with desmopressin to 17 patients treated conventionally at a university hospital ICU in Japan between 2013 and 2018 using propensity score-based approaches. The primary outcome was safe [sNa] correction, defined as a ≤ 8 mEq/L difference between baseline and follow-up [sNa] at any time within 24 h of diagnosis. Results: The 24-h safe correction rate was significantly greater in the desmopressin group than the conventional treatment group (68% [32/47] vs. 41% [7/17], P = 0.039), and dose–response analysis indicated a positive association between cumulative 24-h desmopressin dose and safe correction at 24 h (P = 0.003). Few overcorrections precluded reliable assessment at 48 h. Exacerbation of hyponatremia was comparable in the two treatment groups. Conclusions: Intranasal desmopressin therapy increased the safe correction of severe hyponatremia. Large prospective trials are warranted to confirm this result.
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