ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and heart failure (HF) are common, big-budget, debilitating and expanding diseases. Cardiovascular diseases, especially STEMI and heart failure have been known to cause 17.3 million deaths worldwide annually. Hyponatremia, delineated as a serum sodium (sNa) concentration <135 mmol/l, is a frequently seen electrolyte disturbance in practice and the prevalence, clinical impact; the prognostic factor of low SNa in STEMI/heart failure patients vary widely. The aim of this review is to assess its existence and comparing survival difference between hypo and normonatremic patients.
A comprehensive review of the published articles was conducted using database PubMed. We found a total of over 1400 articles. The inclusion criteria used for this review were age >65 years, published within the last 10 years, written in English, performed on human subjects and of studies such as reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs), especially for heart failure MeSH words. By applying this inclusion criterion, we found out 40 relevant articles which included 26 cohort studies, four clinical trials, four review articles, and six RCTs. In the analysis of 7,06,899 patients with STEMI/heart failure, hyponatremia was significantly linked to causing all-cause mortality, both short and long term (hazard ratio [HR] as continuous variable: 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01-1.11; P = 0.026; HR as categorical variable: 1.71; 95% CI: 1.06-2.75; P = 0.028). The rates of rehospitalization were also higher (odds ratio, 1.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.32-2.14) along with prolonged hospital stays as well as a greater cost burden as compared to patients with normal serum sodium. It was existent not only in patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) but also in subjects with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.75, P = 0.004). Rise of first follow-up and discharge sodium does seem to have positive linkage on survival as well (hazard ratio [HR] 0.429, 95% CI 0.191-0.960, P = 0.04).
Hyponatremia is the most frequently encountered electrolyte abnormality in clinical practice and has a poor prognosis in both STEMI and heart failure patients. It exacerbates both short and long term mortality, rehospitalization rates, as well as the average length of stay in the hospital. Although it is still a mystery whether hyponatremia is just a marker of iller patients or the core of poor prognosis in patients with STEMI and HF, one thing is certain: timely recognition of patients at risk for developing hyponatremia could help to commence early treatment.
Introduction & Background
According to McMurray et al., ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and heart failure (HF) are common, big-budget, debilitating, and expanding diseases . Cardiovascular diseases, especially STEMI and heart failure have been known to cause 17.3 million deaths worldwide annually [2-4]. Hyponatremia, which refers to a serum sodium (sNa) concentration <135 mmol/l, is a common electrolyte disturbance that is seen frequently in clinical practice. Moreover, previous studies have shown the prevalence of hyponatremia in patients suffering from STEMI ranges between 12.5%-23.2%  and close to 25% in patients with HF .
Several mechanisms can explain the occurrence of hyponatremia in these patients, such as neurohormonal activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) as well as sympathetic overstimulation due to reduced stroke volume and subsequent underfilling of arteries [7-9]. Several observational studies and clinical trials have been carried out to appraise the prognostic impact of serum sodium levels at admission and during hospitalization of STEMI and HF patients. Accordingly, a strong alliance is established between the mortality of STEMI, HF patients and low sNa status at admission. Although it is still a mystery whether hyponatremia is just a marker of more ill patients or the core factor of poor prognosis in patients with STEMI and HF, one thing is certain: timely recognition of patients at risk for developing hyponatremia could help to commence earlier treatment.
The aim of this review is to identify the prognostic significance of hyponatremia in STEMI and HF patients, heart failure with both preserved (HFpEF) and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), and whether the correction of serum sodium during hospitalization and discharge could improve both short and long term adverse outcomes such as all-cause mortality, cardiac-specific mortality, rehospitalization, length of hospital stay, diuretic resistance as well as signs and symptoms.
A comprehensive review of published literature in PubMed was conducted in order to study the prognostic significance of hyponatremia in STEMI and HF patients. Articles included were those relevant to the theme of hyponatremia, STEMI and HF. A search was conducted using database PubMed with MeSH keywords such as hyponatremia, STEMI, and heart failure and subheadings such as analysis and mortality which gave us 1,254, 847 and 8,339 articles respectively. The inclusion criteria used for this review were age >65 years, published within the last 10 years, written in English, conducted on human subjects and included studies of reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCT) for heart failure MeSH word particularly. Yet, the total came to over 1400 articles after applying inclusion criteria. Out of these, there was a repetition involving 18 articles. A total of 40 pieces of literature were appropriate for this analysis. Out of these, 30 were included using their abstracts while 10 were included using full review. Among them, 26 were identified themselves as cohort studies (including 19 identified as a retrospective cohort and seven identified as a prospective cohort) [5, 10-34], four were review articles [35-38], four were clinical trials [39-42], and six identified themselves as RCTs [43-48]. A total of 70,6899 subjects comprise the study population. Table 1 shows the total number of articles obtained after applying inclusion criteria for MeSH keywords in PubMed. Table 2 shows appropriate articles for the literature review with the total number of study subjects.
Based on study results, hyponatremia was significantly associated with short-term as well as long-term mortality in these patients. Rates of rehospitalization were also on a higher side as compared to patients with normal serum sodium. The average length of hospital stay and cost burden was much more. These findings were not only accurate for patients with preserved ejection fraction but also patients with reduced ejection fraction [5, 10-48].
In this analysis of 706,899 patients, we examined the interconnection between serum sodium and prognosis in STEMI and HF patients. A significant association was noted between serum sodium and outcome. As compared to normonatremia, hyponatremia was remarkably associated with poor prognosis in these study subjects.
In most studies, hyponatremia was found to be a standalone predictor of death in HF patients. In the current literature review, there was an immense and independent association between hyponatremia and term mortality (both short and long term, cardiac-specific and all-cause). The average length of hospital stay was prolonged in hyponatremic subjects than patients with normal sNa levels. Because it is a poor prognostic indicator and measure of the quality of life and cost, rehospitalization is usually included either alone or belonging to a composite clinical endpoint in studies examining various aspects of STEMI and HF. Based on study results, patients with low sNa levels had higher rehospitalization rates than normonatremic patients in our analysis. STEMI and HF patients with persistent low serum sodium, i.e., present both on admission and at discharge, have the highest mortality and rehospitalization rates compared with all-time normonatremia and the rise of first follow-up and discharge of sodium are positively correlated. These differences were significant in this study. This is concordant with previously reported studies emphasizing this same problem. It was evident even in patients with preserved ejection fraction. Table 3 shows the analysis of various studies such as cohort, RCT, and review.
All randomized clinical trials, retrospective, and prospective cohort studies, as well as reviews, reveal a strong association between serum sodium and prognosis. Collectively, these data do provide sufficient evidence that low sNa carries worse prognosis in these patients.
Various mechanisms contribute to low serum sodium in these patients such as low stroke volume, low cardiac output with subsequent underfilling of arterioles and activation of RAAS, the non-osmotic release of vasopressin and severe sympathetic stimulation causing water retention, vasoconstriction causing dilutional hyponatremia. The level of serum sodium may affect the transmembrane potentials in heart cells, the formation of regulatory proteins, enzymes and muscle excitation.
The current literature review did not include STEMI and HF patients below 65 years with hyponatremia, hyponatremia associated with diabetes, advanced age, increase blood urea nitrogen and diuretics. After adjusting for these variables, the results could have been altered. However, one thing is certain that the dynamic monitoring of serum sodium could help physicians identify these high-risk patients and stratify risk for optimal management.
Hyponatremia is the most frequently encountered electrolyte abnormality in clinical practice carries poor prognosis in both STEMI and HF patients. It exacerbates both short- and long-term mortality, rehospitalization rates, the average length of stay in the hospital. The rise of first follow-up sodium during hospitalization as well as during discharge is linked with better outcomes. It is prevalent not only in patients with reduced ejection fraction but also in preserved ejection fraction. Although it is still a mystery whether hyponatremia is just a marker of more ill patients or core of the problem, intense monitoring of sNa could help physicians and researchers optimizing appropriate treatment regimen and to stratify risk management.
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Prognostic Significance of Hyponatremia in ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction/Heart Failure Patients
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Cite this article as:
Shah V, Jahan N (September 16, 2019) Prognostic Significance of Hyponatremia in ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction/Heart Failure Patients. Cureus 11(9): e5673. doi:10.7759/cureus.5673
Received by Cureus: August 23, 2019
Peer review began: September 03, 2019
Peer review concluded: September 04, 2019
Published: September 16, 2019
© Copyright 2019
Shah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.