What causes sampling errors in the diagnosis of hyponatremia?

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

When interpreting serum sodium levels, always consider the possibility of sampling error, especially when the reported value does not seem consistent with the history or physical findings.

  • Was the patient's blood sample properly labeled?

  • Was it obtained from a venous site proximal to an infusion of hypotonic saline or dextrose in water?

  • Is laboratory measurement or reporting in error?

  • If an error is suspected, a second sample should be submitted for testing before therapeutic measures are initiated.


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