Management of Suspected Fluid Balance Issues in Participants of Wilderness Endurance Events

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Abstract

Dehydration and exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) are both relatively common conditions during wilderness endurance events. Whereas dehydration is treated with fluids, EAH is appropriately managed with fluid restriction and a sodium bolus but can worsen with isotonic or hypotonic fluids. Therefore, caution is recommended in the provision of postevent rehydration in environments where EAH is a potential consideration because accurate field assessment of hydration status can be challenging, and measurement of blood sodium concentration is rarely possible in the wilderness. Dehydration management with oral rehydration is generally adequate and preferred to intravenous rehydration, which should be reserved for athletes with sustained orthostasis or inability to tolerate oral fluid ingestion after some rest. In situations where intravenous hydration is initiated without known blood sodium concentration or hydration status, an intravenous concentrated sodium solution should be available in the event of acute neurological deterioration consistent with the development of EAH encephalopathy.

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