What is included in the prehospital care of hyponatremia?

Updated: Aug 24, 2020
  • Author: Kartik Shah, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Hyponatremia is necessarily a hospital-based diagnosis, but patients may exhibit signs of severe neurologic dysfunction during prehospital evaluation and transport.

Address acute life-threatening conditions and initiate supportive care.

Establish reliable intravenous access and give supplemental oxygen to patients with lethargy or obtundation. In these patients, evaluate the possibility of hypoglycemia with a rapid glucose check. Administer intravenous glucose to hypoglycemic patients.

Administer standard prehospital anticonvulsant therapy to patients experiencing seizures. Seizures secondary to hyponatremia are unlikely to respond to this therapy, but it should be administered until a definitive diagnosis and therapy are available.

Intubate and initiate hyperventilation to reduce intracranial pressure in patients exhibiting signs of brainstem herniation (eg, obtundation; fixed, unilateral, dilated pupil; decerebrate or decorticate posturing) until a more definitive therapy can be initiated.

Avoid giving hypotonic intravenous fluids because they may exacerbate cerebral edema.

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