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08/09/2010 05:38 PM

Dad admitted to hospital with low sodium

Posts: 8
New Member

Hello all,

My father was recently admitted with dangerously low sodium levels. This isn't the first time in the hospital, he was diagnosed with alcohol related cirrhosis in March. They had him on fluid restriction and low sodium diet which didn't seem to help. He has been in the hospital 4 days now, drained again (been every week lately). Well, now the doctor called and said his kidneys are failing and he has 2 months if that. His MELD score was a 16, and all blood work except sodium were fine several days ago. What is the deal here, anyone have experience with this? I am pretty confused, but I know this disease is a roller coaster ride. Any advice or info would be great.

Thank you!



08/09/2010 09:54 PM
Posts: 415

Hi Tracey,

I'm sorry your father has this terrible disease. My husband has the same type of cirrhosis; diagnosed 4 yrs. ago. He's been very lucky up til the past few months; he's going downhill now. Everyone who has it seems to react differently, in so many ways.

But there are certain common factors that affect anyone with cirrhosis. Like the absolute must to avoid alcohol at all costs. As little as 1 or 2 drinks/beers per day can finish off what's left of a damaged liver quickly. I'm not sure of alcohol's effects on the kidneys; but it's not good. Hopefully, your father has stopped drinking.

If not, at least you don't have to worry about him doing it in the hospital. Sorry I'm not more help..but there are lots of knowledgeable people here who can help you. You might want to check out Gail's website; some good info there.

You & your dad are in my prayers. Keep us posted.

Anna Sideways

Post edited by: lovinwife, at: 08/09/2010 09:56 PM

08/09/2010 10:55 PM
Posts: 1013
Senior Member

I'm so dreadfully sorry that your dad has failed to improve. I know how hard you have worked to find answers to his problems. Just know that you are doing every thing you can, and sometimes we need to turn our worries over to the Lord just to maintain sanity. Liver disease is such a fickle pup. If your dad is taking his medications as prescribed and staying away from alcohol in addition to maintaining his diet and fluid restrictions, that's all you can ask of him. Is your mother still able to cope with this? Please consider home health if it's becoming too difficult to care for him yourselves.

The liver disease alone can cause sodium depletion by causing the body to retain fluids and dilute the sodium in his blood. Some of the frequently prescribed diuretics, anti-depressants, and pain meds can also cause dilution of serum sodium levels. It's such a vicious circle trying to keep all of the body's electrolytes in balance.

In the meantime, stay in constant communication with the doctor's office, and don't worry about "bothering" people. If you get to the point that you and the family decide that it's time for palliative care, express that and insist that you be directed to the services in your area that can help.

Have you contacted the American Liver Foundation? They can direct you to groups in your area that meet face to face. Their link is:

Please keep in touch. I'll pray for Dad and your entire family right now.

Love and Hugs,


08/10/2010 08:27 AM
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate


I am so sorry things have progressed to this point.Bobbi is right about the Sodium problem it is very common

Kidney failure is very common with advanced liver disease, There is a syndrome called "Heptorenal Syndrome".It is a life-threatening medical condition that consists of rapid deterioration in kidney function in individuals with cirrhosis or fulminant liver failure. It is usually fatal unless a liver transplant is performed, although various treatments, such as dialysis, can prevent advancement of the condition.

The liver really affects your entire body and most people just don't realize that . I can tell you I had no idea how much my body would change before I got sick.

Please know your family remains in our constant prayers


08/10/2010 10:58 AM
Posts: 453

Hi Tracey,

I am so very sorry that you and your family are going through this. Miracles do happen though not as often as we would like. The doctors can only give you their best diagnosis based on your father's condition right now.

Having been a caregiver I really encourage you to make sure your father's affairs are in order - one just never knows with cirrhosis when things might improve or nosedive. Does your father have advanced directives (living will)? The hospital can provide you with the form for that and a form for medical power of attorney (should he be unable to make health decisions he designates a person to do so for him). A chaplain or social worker would probably be glad to witness those documents.

I would also strongly encourage you to at least look into home health care and hospice care so you know ahead of time what options are out there for your father.

Take care of yourself so you can be strong for him.


08/11/2010 05:10 AM
Posts: 23

Hi Tracey - Gail is right on; hepatorenal syndrome (liver-kidney syndrome) is common with advanced cirrhosis. Dialysis can be a temporizing treatment but not curative. If he has stopped drinking and might be a transplant candidate, this might be an option to buy time. However, it does involve some pain and discomfort.

I absolutely second everything everyone else has said already about advance directives, considering hospice and palliative care. It might sound like defeat but at least you will have the resources lined up if you need them. If he turns around and you don't need them just yet, great. But these services can greatly enhance the quality of the time he has left.

Take care of yourself, we are all pulling for you and for him as well.



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