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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2007 Jun;20(6):449-52.

Moderate hypernatremic dehydration in newborn infants: retrospective evaluation of 64 cases.

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Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Fatih University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



This study was carried out to assess the incidence, presenting complaints, risk factors, and methods for prevention of hypernatremic dehydration among term and near-term breastfeeding infants.


We retrospectively evaluated term and near-term (> or =35 weeks of gestation) neonates admitted to our neonatology department, during a four-year period with serum sodium concentrations of > or =146 mEq/L. A detailed maternal and infant history and examination including presenting complaints, risk factors, feeding problems, and weight loss, if present, were registered.


Among 1150 neonates admitted to our unit, 64 (5.6%) had serum sodium concentrations of >145 mEq/L, in whom 43 of them had sodium concentrations of >149 mEq/L. The most common presenting complaint was jaundice in 30 patients (48%). Forty-one (95%) of the 43 patients described a more than 7% weight loss and there was a positive correlation between serum sodium and urea and creatinine concentrations, and a negative correlation between serum sodium and glucose concentrations in these patients (p < 0.05). There was no difference between patients with sodium >149 mEq/L and <149 mEq/L with respect to maternal age, parity, educational level, hospital stay, type of delivery, and anesthesia and also with respect to seasons (p > 0.05).


Weight loss in an infant of greater than 7% from birth weight increases the risk of hypernatremia, a weight loss limit that is lower than the previously reported 10%. This indicates possible breastfeeding problems and requires more intensive evaluation of breastfeeding and possible interventions to correct problems and improve milk production and transfer.

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