A nurse on the medical-surgical floor is caring for a patient with acute renal failure. While assessing the patient, the nurse notes cold, clammy skin and a rapid pulse. The patient has complaints of twitching and dizziness. The nurse then reviews the patient's laboratory results and notes a sodium level of 125 mEq/L. The nurse knows which of the following to be true?


•Hyponatremia (decreased serum sodium level) occurs frequently in patient's with acute renal failure because these patients often have decreased urine output (oliguria) causing dilute blood associated with fluid retention.

•Hyponatremia in acute renal failure patients can be treated with fluid restriction. If this alone does not resolve the hyponatremia, a hypertonic 3% saline solution can be given intravenously for sodium replacement.

  • Normal serum sodium range: 136-145 mEq/L

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