Electrolyte and acid-base imbalance in severe COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

Endocr Connect. 2021 Jun 1:EC-21-0265. doi: 10.1530/EC-21-0265. Online ahead of print.


Acute systemic diseases, such as severe infections, can lead to electrolyte and acid-base alterations. To study the presence of electrolyte imbalance in severe COVID-19, we investigated the frequency and consequences of changes in electrolyte and acid-base patterns over time. We performed a retrospective cohort study including 406 patients with severe COVID-19. Levels of electrolytes, base excess, pH, serum osmolality and hematocrit, the first two weeks of hospitalization, were collected daily from the laboratory database and clinical data from patients' medical records. We found that hyponatremia was present in 57% of the patients at admission and hypernatremia in 2%. However, within two weeks of hospitalization 42% of the patients developed hypernatremia, more frequently in critically ill patients. Lower levels of sodium and potassium at admission was associated with need of mechanical ventilation. Decreased pH at admission was associated with both death and need of mechanical ventilation. Hypernatremia in the ICU was combined with rising base excess and a higher pH. In the group without intensive care, potassium levels was significantly lower in the patients with severe hypernatremia. Presence of hypernatremia during the first two weeks of hospitalization was associated with 3.942 (95% CI 2.269-6.851) times higher odds of death. In summary, hypernatremia was common and associated with longer hospital stay and a higher risk of death, suggesting that the dynamics of sodium is an important indicator of severity in COVID-19.

PMID:34156969 | DOI:10.1530/EC-21-0265

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