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Misleading Hyponatremia Due to Hyperlipemia: A Method-Dependent Error

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Grant support: training grant ES07066-03, National Institutes of Health; and a fellowship in clinical chemistry, Nova Biomedical, Inc.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jack Ladenson, Ph.D.; Division of Laboratory Medicine, Box 8118, Washington University School of Medicine; St. Louis, MO 63110.

Washington University School of Medicine; St. Louis, Missouri

Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(6):707-708. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-95-6-707
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Serum from patients with hyperlipemia has been clearly shown to have low sodium values when analyzed by flame photometry (1-10). This artifactually low sodium value is due to a decrease in the percentage of water (water content) in serum or plasma. This decrease in water content leads to less sodium in a given volume aliquot of the sample taken for analysis even though the "concentration" of sodium in the water phase may be unaltered. Methods for measuring sodium in serum include the traditional technique of flame photometry or the more recent and increasingly used technique of potentiometry using a sodium


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