Hyponatremia is a common serum electrolyte abnormality associated with a
plethora of etiologies with differing pathophysiological mechanisms.
Hyponatremia occurs in up to 20% of hospitalized patients and is
associated with increased morbidity and mortality. It can be the result
of a disease process, a side effect of certain medications, or a
consequence of intense exercise. Conventional therapies for hyponatremia
have variable efficacy and are often poorly tolerated. The availability
of a new class of medications, vasopressin receptor antagonists, offers
new opportunities in the management of hyponatremia. This activity
addresses current issues in the diagnosis and management of
hyponatremia, potential pitfalls and how they can be avoided, issues in
the rate of correction, and the evolving management of this condition in
a variety of clinical situations. A series of case histories is
analyzed for the rationale for decisions in the management of this
potentially lethal condition.