HYPONATREMIA - Approach to Patient



KNOWLEDGE - The student will discuss:

  1. The approach to a patient with hyponatremia including:
  2. The deleterious effects of a rapid change in serum sodium concentration.
  3. Treatment modalities for specific causes of hyponatremia based on pathophysiology and rapidity (or chronicity) of the development of the hyponatremia.
  4. The concept of free water clearance by the kidney.


  1. History taking - the student will illicit the symptoms of hyponatremia when relevant.
  2. Physical exam - the student will be able to determine the volume status of a patient using the physical exam including:
  3. Laboratory tests - the student will:
  4. Management


References :

  1. DeFronzo, RA., Their, S.   Pathophysiologic Approach to Hyponatremia .   Arch Intern Med , July 1980.   Vol 140   pp 897 – 902.
  2. Fraser, CL., Arieff, AI.   Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Management of Hyponatremic Encephalopathy.   The Science of Medical Care , Jan 1997;102:67-77.