, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 372–380 | Cite as

Adipsic diabetes insipidus in adult patients

  • Martín Cuesta
  • Mark J. Hannon
  • Christopher J. ThompsonEmail author



Adipsic diabetes insipidus (ADI) is a very rare disorder, characterized by hypotonic polyuria due to arginine vasopressin (AVP) deficiency and failure to generate the sensation of thirst in response to hypernatraemia. As the sensation of thirst is the key homeostatic mechanism that prevents hypernatraemic dehydration in patients with untreated diabetes insipidus (DI), adipsia leads to failure to respond to aquaresis with appropriate fluid intake. This predisposes to the development of significant hypernatraemia, which is the typical biochemical manifestation of adipsic DI.


A literature search was performed to review the background, etiology, management and associated complications of this rare condition.


ADI has been reported to occur in association with clipping of an anterior communicating artery aneurysm following subarachnoid haemorrhage, major hypothalamic surgery, traumatic brain injury and toluene exposure among other conditions. Management is very difficult and patients are prone to marked changes in plasma sodium concentration, in particular to the development of severe hypernatraemia. Associated hypothalamic disorders, such as severe obesity, sleep apnoea and thermoregulatory disorders are often observed in patients with ADI.


The management of ADI is challenging and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Prognosis is variable; hypothalamic complications lead to early death in some patients, but recent reports highlight the possibility of recovery of thirst.


Diabetes insipidus Adipsia Vasopressin Thirst Hypernatraemia 



This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the review.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in prior studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martín Cuesta
    • 1
  • Mark J. Hannon
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Thompson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Academic Department of EndocrinologyBeaumont Hospital/RCSI Medical SchoolDublinIreland

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