Sodium is the major cation of extracellular fluid. It plays a central role in the maintenance of the normal distribution of water and the osmotic pressure in the various fluid compartments. The main source of body sodium is the sodium chloride contained in ingested foods. Only about one-third of the total body sodium is contained in the skeleton since most of it is contained in the extracellular body fluids.1,2 Hyponatremia (low serum sodium level) is found in a variety of conditions including the following: severe polyuria, metabolic acidosis, Addison’s disease, diarrhea, and renal tubular disease. Hypernatremia (increased serum sodium level) is found in the following conditions: hyperadrenalism, severe dehydration, diabetic coma after therapy with insulin, excess treatment with sodium salts.

Sodium measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of aldosteronism (excessive secretion of the hormone aldosterone), diabetes insipidus (chronic excretion of large amounts of dilute urine, accompanied by extreme thirst), adrenal hypertension, Addison’s disease (caused by destruction of the adrenal glands), dehydration, inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, or other diseases involving electrolyte imbalance. 

Test principle An Ion-Selective Electrode (ISE) makes use of the unique properties of certain membrane materials to develop an electrical potential (electromotive force, EMF) for the measurements of ions in solution. The complete measurement system for a particular ion includes the ISE, a reference electrode, and electronic circuits to measure and process the EMF to give the test ion concentration. The type of ISE used on the Hitachi ISE Module(s) is classified as liquid/liquid junction type. The sodium and potassium [3] electrodes are based on neutral carriers and the chloride] electrode is based on an ion exchanger. For determinations on the ISE Module(s), the sample is diluted 1:31 and a single 15 uL sample is taken for the three assays.