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Mark Sherlock and Chris J Thompson

Hyponatraemia is the commonest electrolyte abnormality, and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) is the most frequent underlying pathophysiology. Hyponatraemia is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and as such appropriate treatment is essential. Treatment options for SIADH include fluid restriction, demeclocycline, urea, frusemide and saline infusion, all of which have their limitations. The introduction of the vasopressin-2 receptor antagonists has allowed clinicians to specifically target the underlying pathophysiology of SIADH. Initial studies have shown good efficacy and safety profiles in the treatment of mild to moderate hyponatraemia. However, studies assessing the efficacy and safety of these agents in acute severe symptomatic hyponatraemia are awaited. Furthermore, the cost of these agents at present may limit their use.

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Mirjam Christ-Crain, Ewout J Hoorn, Mark Sherlock, Chris J Thompson, and John A H Wass

COVID-19 has changed the nature of medical consultations, emphasizing virtual patient counseling, with relevance for patients with diabetes insipidus (DI) or hyponatraemia. The main complication of desmopressin treatment in DI is dilutional hyponatraemia. Since plasma sodium monitoring is not always possible in times of COVID-19, we recommend to delay the desmopressin dose once a week until aquaresis occurs allowing excess retained water to be excreted. Patients should measure their body weight daily. Patients with DI admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 have a high risk for mortality due to volume depletion. Specialists must supervise fluid replacement and dosing of desmopressin. Patients after pituitary surgery should drink to thirst and measure their body weight daily to early recognize the development of the postoperative syndrome of inappropriate antidiuresis (SIAD). They should know hyponatraemia symptoms. The prevalence of hyponatraemia in patients with pneumonia due to COVID-19 is not yet known, but seems to be low. In contrast, hypernatraemia may develop in COVID-19 patients in ICU, from different multifactorial reasons, for example, due to insensible water losses from pyrexia, increased respiration rate and use of diuretics. Hypernatraemic dehydration may contribute to the high risk of acute kidney injury in COVID-19. IV fluid replacement should be administered with caution in severe cases of COVID-19 because of the risk of pulmonary oedema.

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Aoife Garrahy, Martin Cuesta, Brian Murphy, Michael W O’Reilly, William P Tormey, Mark Sherlock, and Chris J Thompson

Objective

Severe hyponatraemia (plasma sodium concentration, pNa <120 mmol/L) is reported to be associated with mortality rates as high as 50%. Although there are several international guidelines for the management of severe hyponatraemia, there are few data on the impact of treatment.

Design and methods

We have longitudinally reviewed rates of specialist input, active management of hyponatraemia, treatment outcomes and mortality rates in patients with severe hyponatraemia (pNa <120 mmol/L) in 2005, 2010 and 2015, and compared the recent mortality rate with that of patients with pNa 120–125 mmol/L.

Results

Between 2005 and 2010 there was a doubling in the rate of specialist referral (32 to 68%, P = 0.003) and an increase in the use of active management of hyponatraemia in patients with pNa <120 mmol/L (63 to 88%, P = 0.02), associated with a reduction in mortality from 51 to 15% (P < 0.001). The improved rates of intervention were maintained between 2010 and 2015, but there was no further reduction in mortality. When data from all three reviews were pooled, specialist consultation in patients with pNa <120 mmol/L was associated with a 91% reduction in mortality risk, RR 0.09 (95% CI: 0.03–0.26), P < 0.001. Log-rank testing on in-hospital survival in 2015 found no significant difference between patients with pNa <120 mmol/L and pNa 120–125 mmol/L (P = 0.56).

Conclusion

Dedicated specialist input and active management of severe hyponatraemia are associated with a reduction in mortality, to rates comparable with moderate hyponatraemia.

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Rosemary Dineen, Julie Martin-Grace, Khalid Mohamed Saeed Ahmed, Isolda Frizelle, Anjuli Gunness, Aoife Garrahy, Anne Marie Hannon, Michael W O’Reilly, Diarmuid Smith, John McDermott, Marie-Louise Healy, Amar Agha, Agnieszka Pazderska, James Gibney, Chris J Thompson, Lucy-Ann Behan, and Mark Sherlock

Background

Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and reduced quality of life (QoL). Optimum glucocorticoid (GC) dosing and timing are crucial in the treatment of AI, yet the natural circadian secretion of cortisol is difficult to mimic. The once-daily dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) preparation (Plenadren®), offers a more physiological cortisol profile and may address unmet needs.

Methods

An investigator-initiated, prospective, cross-over study in patients with AI. Following baseline assessment of cardiometabolic risk factors and QoL, patients switched from their usual hydrocortisone regimen to a once-daily dose equivalent of DR-HC and were reassessed after 12 weeks of treatment.

Results

Fifty-one patients (21 PAI/30 SAI) completed the study. Mean age was 41.6 years (s.d. 13), and 58% (n = 30) were male. The median daily HC dose before study entry was 20 mg (IQR 15–20 mg). After 3 months on DR-HC, the mean SBP decreased by 5.7 mmHg, P = 0.0019 and DBP decreased by 4.5 mmHg, P = 0.0011. There was also a significant reduction in mean body weight (−1.23 kg, P = 0.006) and BMI (−0.3 kg/m2, P = 0.003). In a sub-analysis, there was a greater reduction in SBP observed in patients with SAI when compared to PAI post-DR-HC. Patients reported significant improvements in QoL using three validated QoL questionnaires, with a greater improvement in PAI.

Conclusion

Dual-release hydrocortisone decreases BP, weight and BMI compared with conventional HC treatment, even at physiological GC replacement doses. Additionally, DR-HC confers significant improvements in QoL compared to immediate-release HC, particularly in patients with PAI, which is also reflected in the patient preference for DR-HC.