Hypernatremic dehydration in exclusively breast-fed neonates is associated with a free water deficit secondary to inadequate fluid intake. It is a common but underrecognized problem in the primary care setting, as the degree of dehydration can be underestimated due to fluid shifts. Neonates of primiparous mothers and those who experience greater weight loss in the first week of life are at higher risk of developing hypernatremic dehydration and most often present for care between 6 and 10 days of life. No consensus treatment guidelines exist, but most experts recommend a goal reduction rate of serum sodium levels of 0.5 mEq/L per hour with correction over 48 hours. Serum sodium level greater than 160 mEq/L is a risk factor for morbidity and mortality. Complications of hypernatremic dehydration, with seizure being most common, usually occur during improper correction. Several small studies have documented varying degrees of neurodevelopmental delay on long-term follow-up of patients admitted for hypernatremic dehydration treatment as a neonate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health