[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Iatrogenic hyponatremia in hospitalized children is a common problem. It is usually caused by the administration of free water, either orally or through the prescription of hypotonic intravenous fluids. It can result in cerebral edema and death, and is most commonly reported in healthy children undergoing minor surgery. The current teachings and practical guidelines for maintenance fluid infusions are based on caloric expenditure data in healthy children that were derived and published more than 50 years ago. A re-evaluation of these data and more recent recognition that hospitalized children are vulnerable to hyponatremia, with its resulting morbidity and mortality rates, suggest that changes in paediatricians' approach to fluid administration are necessary. There is no single fluid therapy that is optimal for all hospitalized children. A thorough assessment of the type of fluid, volume of fluid and electrolyte requirements based on individual patient requirements, plus rigorous monitoring, is required in any child receiving intravenous fluids. The present article reviews how hyponatremia occurs and makes recommendations for minimizing the risk of iatrogenic hyponatremia.
Preview · Article · Aug 2008 · Paediatrics & child health