Complications of Diabetes Insipidus: The Significance of Headache

Mary Jane Hudson, MSN, RN


Pediatr Nurs. 2007;33(1):58-59. 

In This Article

Introduction and Medical History


Travis was a 10-year-old with panhypopituitarism and recent resection of a craniopharyngioma. One week after discharge, his parents telephoned to report that Travis was complaining of neck and back pain. They were instructed to bring Travis to the hospital immediately. Upon arrival in the Pediatric Clinic, blood was drawn for laboratory tests and intravenous access was obtained. When sodium levels were reported as 181, Travis was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Medical History

Travis was a healthy young boy until recently when he started complaining of headaches. He was diagnosed with panhypopituitarism and craniopharyngioma. Subsequently, Travis underwent surgical resection of the tumor. Fluctuating sodium levels complicated his immediate postoperative hospital course. Travis had developed diabetes insipidus following the removal of his craniopharyngioma, resulting in extremely high and fluctuating postoperative sodium levels. During his initial postoperative hospital stay, Travis' sodium levels gradually were controlled with intravenous fluids and desmopressin. After his sodium levels were stabilized within normal limits, Travis was discharged on oral desmopressin. Once home, Travis was relatively immobile, gained weight, and spent most of his time in bed and only occasionally left his room or his house.


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