Challenge in hyponatremic patients - the potential of a laboratory-based decision support system for hyponatremia to improve patient's safety

  • Tom Sicker
  • Martin Federbusch
  • Felix Eckelt
  • Berend Isermann
  • Wiebke Fenske
  • Charlotte Fries
  • Maria Schmidt
  • Thorsten Kaiser


OBJECTIVES: Hyponatremia is the most frequent electrolyte disorder in hospitalized patients with increased mortality and morbidity. In this study, we evaluated the follow-up diagnostic, the risk of inadequate fast correction and the outcome of patients with profound hyponatremia (pHN), defined as a blood sodium concentration below 120 mmol/L. The aim was to identify a promising approach for a laboratory-based clinical decision support system (CDSS).

METHODS: This retrospective study included 378,980 blood sodium measurements of 83,315 cases at a German tertiary care hospital. Hospitalized cases with pHN (n=211) were categorized into two groups by the time needed for a follow-up measurement to be performed (time to control, TTC) as either <12 h (group 1: "TTC≤12 h", n=118 cases) or >12 h (group 2: "TTC>12 h", n=93 cases). Length of hospital stay, sodium level at discharge, ward transfers, correction of hyponatremia, and risk of osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) due to inadequate fast correction were evaluated with regard to the TTC of sodium blood concentration.

RESULTS: pHN was detected in 1,050 measurements (0.3%) in 211 cases. Cases, in which follow-up diagnostics took longer (TTC>12 h), achieved a significantly lower sodium correction during their hospitalization (11.2 vs. 16.7 mmol/L, p<0.001), were discharged more frequently in hyponatremic states (<135 mmol/L; 58 (62.4%) vs. 43 (36.4%), p<0.001) and at lower sodium blood levels (131.2 vs. 135.0 mmol/L, p<0.001). Furthermore, for these patients there was a trend toward an increased length of hospital stay (13.1 vs. 8.5 days, p=0.089), as well as an increased risk of inadequate fast correction (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that less frequent follow-up sodium measurements in pHN are associated with worse outcomes. Patients with a prolonged TTC are at risk of insufficient correction of hyponatremia, reduced sodium values at discharge, and possible overcorrection. Our results suggest that a CDSS that alerts treating physicians when a control time of >12 h is exceeded could improve patient care in the long term. We are initiating a prospective study to investigate the benefits of our self-invented CDSS ( for patients with pHN.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 25.05.2023
Extern publiziertJa

Anmerkungen des Dekanats

© 2022 the author(s), published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston.

PubMed 36593221