Na+, K+, Cl, acid–base or H2O homeostasis in children with urinary tract infections: a narrative review

Anna Bertini, Gregorio P. Milani, Giacomo D. Simonetti, Emilio F. Fossali, Pietro B. Faré, Mario G. Bianchetti, Sebastiano A G Lava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Guidelines on the diagnosis and management of urinary tract infections in childhood do not address the issue of abnormalities in Na+, K+, Cl and acid–base balance. We have conducted a narrative review of the literature with the aim to describe the underlying mechanisms of these abnormalities and to suggest therapeutic maneuvers. Abnormalities in Na+, K+, Cl and acid–base balance are common in newborns and infants and uncommon in children of more than 3 years of age. Such abnormalities may result from factitious laboratory results, from signs and symptoms (such as excessive sweating, poor fluid intake, vomiting and passage of loose stools) of the infection itself, from a renal dysfunction, from improper parenteral fluid management or from the prescribed antimicrobials. In addition, two transient renal tubular dysfunctions may occur in infants with infectious renal parenchymal involvement: a reduced capacity to concentrate urine and pseudohypoaldosteronism secondary to renal tubular unresponsiveness to aldosterone that presents with hyponatremia, hyperkalemia and acidosis. In addition to antimicrobials, volume resuscitation with an isotonic solution is required in these children. In secondary pseudohypoaldosteronism, isotonic solutions (such as 0.9 % saline or lactated Ringer) correct not only the volume depletion but also the hyperkalemia and acidosis. In conclusion, our review suggests that in infants with infectious renal parenchymal involvement, non-renal and renal causes concur to cause fluid volume depletion and abnormalities in electrolyte and acid–base balance, most frequently hyponatremia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1409
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Acidosis
  • Childhood
  • Electrolytes
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Hyponatremia
  • Pseudohypoaldosteronism
  • Urinary tract infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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