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A review of the diagnosis and management of hyponatremia in connolly hospital: an audit of current practice and the construction of a clinical aid for the diagnosis and treatment of Hyponatremia

  • Neil McAuliffe1 and
  • Seamus Sreenan1, 2
BMC Proceedings20159(Suppl 7):A16

Published: 27 October 2015


CortisolEmergency DepartmentThyroid FunctionEuropean SocietySerum Sodium


Hyponatraemia is the most common example of body fluid and electrolyte imbalance encountered in clinical practice, and is associated with increased mortality, morbidity and length of hospital stay in patients [1]. In spite of this, the diagnosis and management of hyponatremia remains inconsistent as clinicians adopt a broad range of hospital- and specialty-specific approaches [1, 2]. In light of this observed inconsistency, the objectives of the present project were: (i) To audit all patients admitted to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown (CHB) Emergency Department (ED) with hyponatremia (<135 mmol/L) over a 14 day period. (ii) Record the diagnostic and management methods employed, comparing them with recent guidelines published by the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE). (iii) To construct a clinical aid for the diagnosis and treatment of hyponatremia, specific to CHB.


The records of all patients admitted to the ED over a 14 day period (N= 426) were studied. Those presenting with hyponatremia (serum sodium <135 mmol/L) upon initial measurement were identified and their lab results and patient files reviewed.


Hyponatremia (< 135 mmol/L) was observed in 10.7% of admitted patients (n = 46; Sex: 12:34, M:F; Age: Mean : 63.4; Range: [16 – 98]) on initial measurement. Of these, 63% had mild (130-135 mmol/L), 19.6% moderate (125-129) and 17.4% profound (<125) hyponatremia respectively. In 41% of cases (18/44) inappropriate or insufficient diagnostic methods were utilised, when compared with the ESE guidelines. Blood glucose was measured in 69.5% (32/46) of patients, 32.6% (15/46) had Thyroid Function Tests and 17.3% (8/46) had Serum Cortisol measured. In 9% of cases (4/44) the management employed was inconsistent with the guidelines. In addition, 2 incidences (4.5%) of rapid overcorrection of sodium were observed (>10 mmol/L for the first 24 hours and >8 for any 24 hours thereafter).


Analysis of the data revealed that while the management of hyponatremic patients was largely consistent with ESE guidelines, the diagnostic procedures in many cases were not. These results confirm the need for a diagnostic and management algorithm in CHB, and given the consistency of results across other institutions, the implementation of ESE guidelines in other centres may yield improved patient care and outcomes.

Authors’ Affiliations

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland


  1. Spasovski G, Vanholder R, Allolio B, Annane D, Ball S, Bichet D, Decaux G, Fenske W, Hoorn E, Ichai C, et al: Clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and treatment of hyponatraemia. Eur J Endocrinol. 2014, 170 (3): G1-47. 10.1530/EJE-13-1020.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  2. Tzamaloukas A, Malhotra D, Bradley H, Dominic S, Murata G, Shapiro J: Principles of Management of Severe Hyponatemia. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013, doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.005199Google Scholar


© McAuliffe and Sreenan 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.