Which nonneurologic findings are characteristic of hyponatremia?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Kartik Shah, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

In addition to neurologic findings, patients may exhibit signs of hypovolemia or hypervolemia. Determining the hydration status of the patient may help establish the etiology of the hyponatremia and direct subsequent treatment.

  • Dry mucous membranes, tachycardia, diminished skin turgor, and orthostasis suggest hypovolemic hyponatremia due to excessive loss of body fluids and replacement with inappropriately dilute fluids.

  • Pulmonary rales, S3 gallop, jugular venous distention, peripheral edema, or ascites suggest hypervolemic hyponatremia due to excess retention of sodium and free water (ie, cirrhosis, nephrotic syndrome, congestive heart failure).

  • Patients who lack findings of hypovolemia or hypervolemia are considered to have euvolemic hyponatremia, which is consistent with such etiologies as exogenous free water load, hypothyroidism, cortisol deficiency, or SIADH.

Other nonspecific signs include muscle weakness and cramping. Rhabdomyolysis is an occasional consequence of hyponatremia and should be considered in patients with muscle pain or tenderness.


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