THE MAIN OBJECTIVE of our study was to evolve a practical management protocol for neurosurgical patients with hyponatremia and natriuresis, based on their blood volume status and hematocrit. Twenty-one patients with hyponatremia and natriuresis and 3 control patients were studied. Patients with hyponatremia were categorized on the basis of their hematocrit, central venous pressure, and total blood volume. Group A consisted of patients with hypovolemia and anemia (16 patients); Group B patients had hypovolemia but no anemia (5 patients); Group C included those with hypervolemia (0 patients). Patients in Groups A and B received isotonic saline (> 50 ml/kg/d) and oral salt (12 g/d). Additionally, those in Group A were transfused with 500 ml of whole blood. The end points in the study were 72 hours after entry or two consecutive serum sodium values of > 130 mEq/L, whichever was earlier. Hyponatremia was corrected in all the patients within 72 hours (1 patient, < 24 h; 13 patients, < 48 h; and 7 patients, < 72 h). We conclude that most neurosurgical patients with hyponatremia and natriuresis have hypovolemia, with or without anemia. Fluid and salt replacement and a blood transfusion rather than fluid restriction often results in the correction of the hyponatremia. Our findings offer indirect evidence to support the hypothesis that in most of these patients, hyponatremia is caused by cerebral salt wasting syndrome, rather than the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone.