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Electrolyte Blood Press. 2006 Nov;4(2):77-82. English. Case Report.
Kim GH .
Department of Internal Medicine and Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Serum consists of water (93% of serum volume) and nonaqueous components, mainly lipids and proteins (7% of serum volume). Sodium is restricted to serum water. In states of hyperproteinemia or hyperlipidemia, there is an increased mass of the nonaqueous components of serum and a concomitant decrease in the proportion of serum composed of water. Thus, pseudohyponatremia results because the flame photometry method measures sodium concentration in whole plasma. A sodium-selective electrode gives the true, physiologically pertinent sodium concentration because it measures sodium activity in serum water. Whereas the serum sample is diluted in indirect potentiometry, the sample is not diluted in direct potentiometry. Because only direct reading gives an accurate concentration, we suspect that indirect potentiometry which many hospital laboratories are now using may mislead us to confusion in interpreting the serum sodium data. However, it seems that indirect potentiometry very rarely gives us discernibly low serum sodium levels in cases with hyperproteinemia and hyperlipidemia. As long as small margins of errors are kept in mind of clinicians when serum sodium is measured from the patients with hyperproteinemia or hyperlipidemia, the present methods for measuring sodium concentration in serum by indirect sodium-selective electrode potentiometry could be maintained in the clinical practice.

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