Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 175, Issue 3, pp 28–31 | Cite as

The pattern of plasma sodium abnormalities in an acute elderly care ward: A cross-sectional study

  • K. A. O’Connor
  • P. E. Cotter
  • M. Kingston
  • C. Twomey
  • D. O’Mahony
Original Paper



The combination of ageing, illness, and medications can lead to hyponatraemia or hypernatraemia.


To describe the distribution of plasma sodium levels in older patients admitted to hospital.


We carried out a hospital based cross-sectional study examining 1,511 serum sodium concentrations ([Na+]) among 336 elderly patients and attempted to elucidate the cause(s) of the abnormal serum [Na+].


The study population had a mean age of 81.4. Ninety-two (27.4%) patients had hyponatraemia and seven patients (2.1%) had hypernatraemia during their hospitalisation. The distribution of [Na+] results was towards the lower end of the normal range. The mortality rate of patients with hyponatraemia was 14.1% and that of patients with normal serum [Na+] was 8.9%. Six patients with hypernatraemia died in hospital. Lower respiratory tsuract infection and medication accounted for the majority of cases.


Deranged [Na+] is common among elderly patients admitted to hospital.


IRISH Journal Plasma Sodium Serum Sodium Concentration Plasma Sodium Level Ageing Kidney 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Munster Geriatric Training Scheme, Dept of Geriatric MedicineCork University HospitalCork

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