Increased sodium intake and decreased sodium excretion in ICU-acquired hypernatremia: A prospective cohort study

E.H.J. Mestrom (Corresponding author), J.A. van der Stam, M.E. te Pas, J.G. van der Hoeven, N.A.W. van Riel, A.J.G.H. Bindels, A. Boer, V. Scharnhorst

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PURPOSE: To provide more in-depth insight in the development of early ICU-acquired hypernatremia in critically ill patients based on detailed, longitudinal and quantitative data.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comparative analysis was performed using prospectively collected data of ICU patients. All patients requiring ICU admission for more than 48 h between April and December 2018 were included. For this study, urine samples were collected daily and analyzed for electrolytes and osmolality. Additionally, plasma osmolality analyses were performed. Further data collection consisted of routine laboratory results, detailed fluid balances and medication use.

RESULTS: A total of 183 patient were included for analysis, of whom 38% developed ICU-acquired hypernatremia. Whereas the hypernatremic group was similar to the non-hypernatremic group at baseline and during the first days, hypernatremic patients had a significantly higher sodium intake on day 2 to 5, a lower urine sodium concentration on day 3 and 4 and a worse kidney function (plasma creatinine 251 versus 71.9 μmol/L on day 5). Additionally, hypernatremic patients had higher APACHE IV scores (67 versus 49, p < 0.05) and higher ICU (23 versus 12%, p = 0.07) and 90-day mortality (33 versus 14%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal analysis shows that the development of early ICU-acquired hypernatremia is preceded by increased sodium intake, decreased renal function and decreased sodium excretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Early online date10 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Hypernatremia
  • Intensive care unit
  • Osmolality
  • Water-electrolyte imbalance


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