Cost Issues in Hyponatremia

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Abstract

Purpose:

To describe the morbidity and mortality associated with hyponatremia and its impact on health care costs and outcomes in the United States, describe the role of pharmacists in the overall management of hyponatremia, and identify and address cost and resource allocation issues.

Summary:

Hyponatremia places a significant burden on overall hospital and health care costs. Underrecognition of the disorder and inappropriate hospital management can lead to worse outcomes, impacting length of stay (LOS), need for intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and clinical outcomes. Risk of mortality rises with increasing severity of hyponatremia, but even mild hyponatremia is associated with increased in-hospital mortality. The association with mortality is particularly robust in patients admitted to the hospital with cardiovascular disease and metastatic cancer. For patients admitted to the ICU, severe hyponatremia is a predictor of mortality. Elderly patients with admission hyponatremia face an especially poor prognosis. Resolving hyponatremia during hospitalization decreases the risk of mortality, suggesting that improved identification and aggressive monitoring may lead to more appropriate treatment. Pharmacoeconomic data can be utilized to support clinical decision-making in the management of hyponatremia by evaluating drug therapy and by monitoring hyponatremia development and therapeutic outcomes.

Conclusion:

Prompt recognition and optimal management of hyponatremia in hospitalized patients may reduce mortality and symptom severity, allow for less intensive care, decrease LOS and associated costs, and improve treatment of underlying comorbid conditions and quality of life. Pharmacists have a key role in optimizing the management of hyponatremia.

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