The void in using urine concentration to assess population fluid intake adequacy or hydration status1,2

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Abstract

Urine concentration can be used to assess fluid intake adequacy or to diagnose dehydration. However, too often urine concentration is used inappropriately to draw dubious conclusions that could have harmful health and economic consequences. Inappropriate uses of urine concentration relate primarily to convenience sampling (timing) and problems related to convenience sampling (misapplication of thresholds), but a conceptual problem also exists with using urine concentration in isolation. The purpose of this Perspective article is to briefly explain the problematic nature of current practices and to offer a possible solution to improve practice with minimal added complication. When urine is used exclusively to assess fluid intake adequacy and hydration status in adults, we propose that only when urine concentration is high (>850 mmol/kg) and urine excretion rate is low (<850 mL/24 h) should suspicion of inadequate drinking or impending dehydration be considered. Prospective tests of the 850 × 850 thresholds will provide supporting evidence and/or help refine the best thresholds for men and women, young and old.

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