Objective assessment of thirst recovery in patients with adipsic diabetes insipidus
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Adipsic diabetes insipidus (ADI) is characterised by impaired thirst and defective AVP secretion. We have assessed the thirst response to graded osmotic stimulation using a visual analog scale (VAS) in patients with a history of ADI following surgery for a craniopharyngioma. The patients were thought to be regaining their thirst response but we wanted to confirm that this was the case objectively before relaxing their strict fluid balance regimen. Three patients with adipisa in the presence of hypernatremia following surgery for a craniopharyngioma are described. Their median age at surgery was 13 years (range 11–15 years). All patients had previously demonstrated no desire to drink despite a serum osmolality in excess of 300 mOsmol/kg. Fluid balance was maintained postoperatively with a regimen involving a fixed daily fluid intake and DDAVP dose together with daily weights and regular assessment of capillary sodium concentrations. Patients were thought to be regaining thirst sensation and so were assessed by hypertonic saline infusion (HSI) with thirst measured using a VAS. Patients underwent a HSI test 4, 6 and 9 months post surgery. All had abnormally low AVP production at raised plasma osmolalities but the visual analogue scale confirmed partial or complete thirst recovery. The intensive regimen used to maintain stable serum sodium concentrations was relaxed without the patients subsequently developing a significant hyperosmolar state. We have shown objective recovery of thirst perception in patients with adipsia within 9 months of surgery, despite persistence of cranial diabetes insipidus. These observations indicate that both osmoreceptors regulating thirst and their efferent pathways demonstrate more plasticity than those regulating AVP production. The HSI and thirst VAS are an objective way of assessing patients known to have ADI who are thought to be recovering thirst perception.
KeywordsAdipisic diabetes insipidus Paediatrics Plasticity Hypertonic saline testing Thirst recovery
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