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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Annals of Intensive Care 1/2019

Serum sodium and intracranial pressure changes after desmopressin therapy in severe traumatic brain injury patients: a multi-centre cohort study

Annals of Intensive Care > Ausgabe 1/2019
A. Harrois, J. R. Anstey, F. S. Taccone, A. A. Udy, G. Citerio, J. Duranteau, C. Ichai, R. Badenes, J. R. Prowle, A. Ercole, M. Oddo, A. Schneider, M. van der Jagt, S. Wolf, R. Helbok, D. W. Nelson, M. B. Skrifvars, D. J. Cooper, R. Bellomo, The TBI Collaborative
Wichtige Hinweise
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13613-019-0610-z.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13613-019-0574-z.

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In traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients desmopressin administration may induce rapid decreases in serum sodium and increase intracranial pressure (ICP).


In an international multi-centre study, we aimed to report changes in serum sodium and ICP after desmopressin administration in TBI patients.


We obtained data from 14 neurotrauma ICUs in Europe, Australia and UK for severe TBI patients (GCS ≤ 8) requiring ICP monitoring. We identified patients who received any desmopressin and recorded daily dose, 6-hourly serum sodium, and 6-hourly ICP.


We studied 262 severe TBI patients. Of these, 39 patients (14.9%) received desmopressin. Median length of treatment with desmopressin was 1 [1–3] day and daily intravenous dose varied between centres from 0.125 to 10 mcg. The median hourly rate of decrease in serum sodium was low (− 0.1 [− 0.2 to 0.0] mmol/L/h) with a median period of decrease of 36 h. The proportion of 6-h periods in which the rate of natremia correction exceeded 0.5 mmol/L/h or 1 mmol/L/h was low, at 8% and 3%, respectively, and ICPs remained stable. After adjusting for IMPACT score and injury severity score, desmopressin administration was independently associated with increased 60-day mortality [HR of 1.83 (1.05–3.24) (p = 0.03)].


In severe TBI, desmopressin administration, potentially representing instances of diabetes insipidus is common and is independently associated with increased mortality. Desmopressin doses vary markedly among ICUs; however, the associated decrease in natremia rarely exceeds recommended rates and median ICP values remain unchanged. These findings support the notion that desmopressin therapy is safe.
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