Published: 16 December 2015
Author(s): T.D. Filippatos, G. Liamis, F. Christopoulou, M.S. Elisaf
Section: Review Article

Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder in hospitalized patients associated with increased morbidity and mortality. On the other hand, inappropriate treatment of hyponatremia (under- or mainly overtreatment) may also lead to devastating consequences. The appropriate diagnosis of the causative factor is of paramount importance for the proper management and avoidance of treatment pitfalls. Herein, we describe the most common pitfalls in the evaluation of the hyponatremic patient, such as failure to exclude pseudohyponatremia or hypertonic hyponatremia (related to glucose, mannitol or glycine), to properly assess urine sodium concentration and other laboratory findings, to diagnose other causes of hyponatremia (cerebral salt wasting, reset osmostat, nephrogenic syndrome of inappropriate antidiuresis, prolonged strenuous exercise, drugs) as well as inability to measure urine osmolality or delineate the diagnosis and cause of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion.

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The principal objectives of EFIM is to promote internal medicine on a scientific educational, ethical and professional level and to support internists in providing better care for patients throughout Europe.

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What is internal medicine?

The specialty of internal medicine covers a wide range of conditions affecting the internal organs of the body. Although some diseases specifically affect individual organs, the majority of common diseases. The internist must then be trained to recognise and manage a broad range of diseases and, with the aging population, many patients with chronic and multiple disorders.

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