1. Marin, Terri PhD, NNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP
  2. Dowell, Samuel H. BS
  3. Wright, Kristen BS
  4. Mansuri, Asifhusen MD
  5. Mann, Paul C. MD


Late-onset hyponatremia (LOH) frequently affects premature infants 2 or more weeks of age due to inadequate sodium intake and excessive kidney loss. Late-onset hyponatremia typically occurs in infants who are physiologically stable and is defined as serum sodium of 132 mEq/L or less or between 133 and 135 mEq/L if receiving sodium supplementation. Recent evidence suggests that spot urine sodium levels may improve the recognition of LOH, as low levels of excreted urine reflect a total body sodium deficit and negative balance. Untreated LOH may result in poor somatic growth, neurodevelopmental delay, higher incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and more severe retinopathy of prematurity. The primary prevention of LOH is to maintain serum sodium between 135 and 145 mEq/L; however, there are currently no formal protocols guiding sodium supplementation. The purpose of this article is to present on overview of LOH pathophysiology and its effect on somatic growth, neurodevelopment outcomes, and other related sequelae. We further discuss general management strategies and describe a protocol for sodium supplementation that is presently undergoing an evaluation for effectiveness.