What You Didn't Know about Hyponatremia

June 3, 2011

During this interview, Dr. Robert Schrier shares his knowledge about hyponatremia and its myths and misunderstandings.

Dr. Robert Schrier, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, shares his knowledge about hypontremia, specifically reviewing why so many people have the condition, myths and misunderstandings, and if he agrees with a study that estimates how hyponatremia is a burden on the health care system.

During the interview Dr. Schrier said, "Hyponatremia is a very bad risk factor for death from heart failure, death from cirrhosis, death from hospitalized patients; patients in the community that have hyponatremia are more likely to get heart attacks."

When asked to offer some advice to physicians on treating hyponatremia, "They have to diagnose the cause of it, and they need to approach it as to whether the hyponatremia is hypervolemic, hypovolmeic, or euvolemic; that's the first point," said Schrier. "And once you diagnose it, you need to know whether the patient is sympomatic and whether the hyponatremia has occurred acutely within the last 24-48 hours or is chronic hyponatremia. The reason that is important is because when you treat these patients that are coming in with acute hyponatremia--sympomatic, confused, seizure--you need to give hypotonic saline immediately."