July 1957

Diabetes Insipidus Following Head Injury

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Medicine and Surgery, Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(1):143-146. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260070157019

The paradox of hyperosmolarity of the extracellular fluid and reduced urinary excretion of sodium and chloride is frequently encountered in persons who have suffered head trauma. We have recently successfully treated this complication with posterior pituitary extract in a patient who had sustained a severe head injury. Evidence is presented to suggest that the electrolyte disturbance was the result of the development of diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus resulting in hypernatremia in a patient with brain damage was first discussed by Peters.1

Report of Case  A 39-year-old comatose male painter was transferred to the Beth Israel Hospital from the Hale Hospital, Haverhill, Mass., on Jan. 28, 1956. Eight days previously he had fallen 14 ft. from a scaffolding and struck the right frontal portion of his skull on a concrete surface. He had been unconscious from the time of the fall. Examination at the Hale Hospital had revealed bleeding from

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