Hyponatraemia in emergency department patients in tropical North Queensland

Malabu, Usman H., Porter, D., Cooksley, S., and Kennedy, R.L. (2010) Hyponatraemia in emergency department patients in tropical North Queensland. Annals of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine, 11 (2). p. 54.

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Hyponatraemia is the commonest electrolyte abnormality, and is associated with increased morbidity and healthcare costs. This study documents its prevalence amongst patients attending the E mergency Department (ED). Mild, moderate and severe hyponatraemia were defined respectively as 2, 4 and 6 SD below the average value for 1,800 healthy young individuals. 35,496 adults (28% of the Townsville population) who presented to ED from January 2007 to March 2010 were included (68,484 attendances). Hyponatraemia occurred in 13.2% (9.6% mild, 2.5% moderate and 1.1% severe), and incidence increased with age (p < 0.001) – with less than 80% of elderly subjects having normal plasma sodium. Hyponatraemia was equally common in men and women, and there was no seasonal variation in incidence. Mild hyponatraemia was more common in Indigenous subjects (particularly Torres Strait Islanders, p < 0.001), but severe hyponatraemia was less common (p < 0.001). T hose of mixed ethnicity had a lower incidence of hyponatraemia (p < 0.01). Plasma sodium was a powerful determinant of the likelihood of re-attendance at ED: Of those who had normal plasma sodium throughout the study period, only 26.8% had more than one ED episode. By contrast the re-attendance rate for those with mild, moderate and severe hyponatraemia was 58.7%, 71.7%, and 79.0% respectively (p < 0.001). In conclusion, hyponatraemia is very common in ED patients in North Queensland. Age and ethnicity are major determinants, and normal ranges should perhaps be adjusted according to ethnicity. More effective management may decrease the rate of re-attendance of hyponatraemic patients at ED.

Item ID: 18882
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1448-4706
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2011 02:44
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110306 Endocrinology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920106 Endocrine Organs and Diseases (excl. Diabetes) @ 100%
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