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Brian N. Egan

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date: 23 June 2021

lSodium is the most abundant cation in the extracellular fluid and is important for regulation of plasma water concentrations and cell volume. Sodium cannot readily cross the blood-brain barrier, and changes in plasma sodium levels by altering free water movement can expand or shrink brain cells. Changes in brain cell volume can cause brain cell dysfunction and apoptosis. Correction of both high and low sodium levels must be done gradually, as rapid correction of dysnatremias can also damage brain cells. In this chapter we review the physiology of sodium regulation, and discuss the clinical implications of these disorders as well as present a treatment plan for safe correction.

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