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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1994 Nov;30(3):227-32.

Iatrogenic hyponatremia: a cause of death following pediatric tonsillectomy.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, Providence.


Death following pediatric tonsillectomy is very rare. If deaths occur, they are most commonly due to bleeding or aspiration. In this presentation, we would like to illustrate another potentially lethal complication following the pediatric tonsillectomy, iatrogenic hyponatremia. We have encountered 3 patients who have developed post-operative hyponatremia. This has resulted in 2 deaths. The third patient was successfully treated and developed no permanent sequela. We will discuss the etiology and pathophysiology of post-operative hyponatremia including guidelines for administering fluid and electrolytes intra-operatively and post-operatively. We expect that fatal post-operative hyponatremia can be avoided in the pediatric tonsillectomy patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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