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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 558-566
Azotemia protects the brain from osmotic demyelination on rapid correction of hyponatremia

Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Civil Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Murtaza F Dhrolia
Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Civil Hospital, Karachi, 74200
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.132183

PMID: 24821152

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Osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) is a dreadful, irreversible and well-recognized clinical entity that classically occurs after rapid correction of hyponatremia. However, it has been observed that when hyponatremia is rapidly corrected in azotemic patients by hemodialysis (HD), patients do not necessarily develop ODS. We studied the effect of inadvertent rapid correction of hyponatremia with HD in patients with azotemia. Fifty-two azotemic patients, who underwent HD at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, having pre-HD serum sodium level <125 mEq/L and post-HD serum sodium levels that increased by ≥12 mEq/L from their pre-dialysis level, were studied. Serum sodium was analyzed before and within 24 h after a HD session. HD was performed using bicarbonate solution, with the sodium concentration being 140 meq/L. The duration of the dialysis session was based on the discretion of the treating nephrologist. Patients were examined for any neurological symptoms or signs before and after HD and for up to two weeks. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in required cases. None of the 52 patients with azotemia, despite inadvertent rapid correction of hyponatremia with HD, developed ODS. This study suggests that patients with azotemia do not develop ODS on rapid correction of hyponatremia by HD, which suggests a possible protective role of azotemia on the brain from osmotic demyelination. However, the mechanism by which azotemia protects the brain from demyelination in humans is largely hypothetical and further studies are needed to answer this question.

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