Diseases associated with electrolyte imbalance in the ED: age-related differences

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The objective of the study is to investigate the prevalence of electrolyte imbalance (EI) in the emergency department (ED) with systemic diseases in different decades of life.


We enrolled patients admitted to the ED. The population study included 7941 patients, subdivided in 3 groups: young group (Y), middle-aged group (MA), and elderly group (E).


We observed EI in 13.7% of the whole population. Hyponatremia (hNa+) is the most frequent EI (44%) followed by hypokalemia (hK+) (39%), hyperkalemia (HK+) (13%), and hypernatremia (HNa+) (4.4%). In the Y group, the EI occurred in 7.1% of all patients (P< .05 vs MA and E), whereas in the MA group, they were shown in 11.5% of patients and in the E group in 22% of all patients group (P< .05 vs MA and Y). In the Y group, gastrointestinal diseases are the most frequently associated disease (24.6%; P< .05 vs MA and E). In the MA group, the most frequently associated disease was a current cardiovascular disease (29.7%; P< .05 vs Y and E). In the E group, the frequently associated diseases are cardiovascular (22.8%; P< .05 vs Y) and lung diseases (16.7%; P< .05 vs MA and Y).


In our study, 13.7% of all patients showed an EI, and only 2% of cases were alone without any associated systemic disease. Most EIs are associated to other systemic diseases. The present data also depict different age-related and disease-associated prevalence patterns of EI, thus highlighting a complex clinical scenario.

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