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Hyponatremia following transurethral resection or hysteroscopy

Michael Emmett, MD
Olav Istre, MD, PhD
Robert G Hahn, MD, PhD
Section Editors
Richard H Sterns, MD
Tommaso Falcone, MD, FRCSC, FACOG
Deputy Editors
John P Forman, MD, MSc
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG


A variety of transurethral, hysteroscopic, and other percutaneous procedures utilize large volumes of irrigating/distension solutions. These procedures include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral resection of bladder tumors, hysteroscopic transcervical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (eg, resection of submucosal leiomyomas), percutaneous removal of kidney stones, and some other percutaneous and minimally invasive procedures.

The electrosurgery devices that have traditionally been used during these procedures have a monopolar design and cannot be used with electrolyte-containing irrigation fluids (eg, isotonic saline or lactated Ringer's). Several different nonconductive (ie, non-electrolyte) solutions have been employed. The use of these non-electrolyte solutions has been associated with a number of complications including hyponatremia, a variable degree of hypoosmolality, and certain solution-specific problems described below.

Bipolar electrosurgery devices and various laser and microwave systems have been introduced, and these devices are compatible with electrolyte-containing irrigation and distension solutions [1-5]. Use of isotonic saline or Ringer's lactate solution will not generate hyponatremia. However, absorption of a large volume of saline solution will expand the extracellular fluid volume and may generate volume overload, pulmonary edema, and hypertension.

Hyponatremia following use of nonconductive (ie, non-electrolyte) irrigation solutions for transurethral resection of the prostate or bladder or for hysteroscopy will be reviewed here. General principles of diagnosis and management of hyponatremia and of TUR and hysteroscopy are discussed separately. (See "Diagnostic evaluation of adults with hyponatremia" and "Overview of the treatment of hyponatremia in adults" and "Transurethral procedures for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia" and "Clinical presentation, diagnosis, and staging of bladder cancer" and "Overview of hysteroscopy" and "Hysteroscopy: Managing fluid and gas distending media", section on 'Fluid media'.)


Three major nonconductive (ie, non-electrolyte) fluids are used for surgical procedures:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 28, 2016.
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