Extreme hypercholesterolemia presenting with pseudohyponatremia - A case report and review of the literature

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27 Scopus citations


Pseudohyponatremia has been reported in association with severe hypertriglyceridemia and hyperparaproteinemia, but its association with severe hypercholesterolemia is not well-known. We report a 43-year-old woman with refractory primary biliary cirrhosis who presented with asymptomatic hyponatremia (121 mmol/L; normal range: 135-145 mmol/L). She was ultimately found to have a total serum cholesterol level of 2415 mg/dL (normal range: 120-199 mg/dL) - secondary to accumulation of lipoprotein-X - causing pseudohyponatremia. The diagnosis was confirmed by measurement of serum osmolality (296 mOsm/kg H2O; normal range: 270-300 mOsm/kg H2O) and serum sodium by direct potentiometry (141 mmol/L). Furthermore, following 16 sessions of plasmapheresis over a 4-month period, there was marked lowering of serum cholesterol to 200 mg/dL and normalization of serum sodium (139 mmol/L) as measured by indirect potentiometry. This case shows that extreme hypercholesterolemia from elevation of lipoprotein-X particles in cholestasis can be a rare cause of pseudohyponatremia. It highlights the need to measure serum sodium with direct potentiometry in the setting of extreme hypercholesterolemia and consider this possibility before initiating treatment of hyponatremia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-264
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Cholestasis
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hyponatremia
  • Lipoprotein-X (LpX)
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
  • Pseudohypokalemia
  • Pseudohyponatremia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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