Etiology of postoperative hyponatremia following pediatric intracranial tumor surgery

Cydni N. Williams, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Susan L. Bratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective Cerebral salt wasting (CSW) and the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) cause postoperative hyponatremia in neurosurgery patients, can be difficult to distinguish clinically, and are associated with increased morbidity. The authors aimed to determine risk factors associated with CSW and SIADH among children undergoing surgery for intracranial tumors. Methods This retrospective cohort study included children 0-19 years of age who underwent a first intracranial tumor surgery with postoperative hyponatremia (sodium ≤ 130 mEq/L). CSW was differentiated from SIADH by urine output and fluid balance, exclusive of other causes of hyponatremia. The CSW and SIADH groups were compared with basic bivariate analysis and recursive partitioning. Results Of 39 hyponatremic patients, 17 (44%) had CSW and 10 (26%) had SIADH. Patients with CSW had significantly greater natriuresis compared with those with SIADH (median urine sodium 211 vs 28 mEq/L, p = 0.01). Age ≤ 7 years and female sex were significant risk factors for CSW (p = 0.03 and 0.04, respectively). Both patient groups had hyponatremia onset within the first postoperative week. Children with CSW had trends toward increased sodium variability and symptomatic hyponatremia compared with those with SIADH. Most received treatment, but inappropriate treatment was noted to worsen hyponatremia. Conclusions The authors found that CSW was more common following intracranial tumor surgery and was associated with younger age and female sex. Careful assessment of fluid balance and urine output can separate patients with CSW from those who have SIADH, and high urine sodium concentrations (> 100 mEq/L) support a CSW diagnosis. Patients with CSW and SIADH had similar clinical courses, but responded to different interventions, making appropriate diagnosis and treatment imperative to prevent morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • Cerebral salt wasting
  • Hyponatremia
  • Intracranial neoplasm
  • Neurosurgery
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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