Key messages

• Hyponatremia can result in permanent brain damage, including cerebral infarction, blindness, a persistent vegetative state, or death.

• Brain damage from hyponatremia can occur in anyone, but is most frequent in menstruant women and prepubertal children.

• The most frequent symptoms of hyponatremia are headache, nausea, and emesis.

• The indication for active therapy of hyponatremia is central nervous system symptomatology.

• Brain damage associated with hyponatremia is usually due to hypoxia. Although improper therapy can lead to brain damge, this occurs in less than 4 per cent of cases.

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