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Am J Kidney Dis. 2018 Dec;72(6):885-889. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2018.07.011. Epub 2018 Sep 26.

Where Do the Salt and Water Go? A Case of Profound Hyponatremia.

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Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY.
Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY; University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY. Electronic address:
Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY; Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.


Treatment of profound hyponatremia is challenging. Severe symptoms mandate correction by 4 to 6 mEq/L within hours, but with risk factors for osmotic demyelination, daily correction should be <8 mEq/L. With a therapeutic window this narrow, clinicians would like to know how serum sodium (SNa) concentration will respond to their therapy. Based on isotopic measurements, Edelman showed SNa level to be a function of exchangeable sodium and potassium divided by total-body water. Edelman defined this relationship with linear regression yielding an equation of the form y = mx + b, where y is SNa level, x is exchangeable sodium and potassium divided by total-body water, m is the slope, and b is the intercept. Edelman said that the intercept of his regression "probably is a measure of the quantity of osmotically inactive exchangeable sodium and potassium per unit of body water." Predictive formulas are derived from Edelman's original linear regression, some including and some omitting the regression's intercept. We illustrate the performance and limitations of these formulas using comprehensive data for electrolyte and fluid balance obtained during the treatment of a critically patient who presented with an SNa concentration of 101 mEq/L.


Edelman equation; Sodium; blood chemistry; body water; case report; electrolytes; hyponatremia; insensible losses; potassium; serum sodium correction

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