Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jennifer Strange Died from Water Intoxication (Hyponatremia) After Drinking Two Gallons of Water. How Low Did Her Serum Sodium Go?

More on the tragedy here. Some quick calculations. Assuming she weighed 63.5 kg (140 lbs), with a 50% body water percentage, her total body water was 31.75 L.

According to this article, she drank 2 gallons (7.5 liters) over approximately two hours, and we'll assume her kidneys eliminated 1000 ml of that -- figuring her max urine output was 500 ml per hour, and a full bladder holds at most about 1000 ml -- which means her total body water increased by about 6.5 liters in two hours (assuming that she absorbed all the water she ingested). If her serum sodium was initially normal at 140 mEq/L, after the contest she would have a serum sodium of [140 X (31.75 / 38.25)] = 116 mEq/L.

Serious symptoms usually occurs when the serum sodium is less than 120 mEq/L. Dropping your sodium from 140 to 116 could definitely lead to brain swelling and death.

3 comments:

The Moose said...

Absolutely criminal. God, even if they had some pretzels or something, she might be alive today.

All for a frickin' Wii.

Huck said...

The velocity of the drop strikes me as more dangerous than the actual number. Even if she got down to 125, at that rate, she would have been in a world of hurt.

At least she didn't freeze herself in an avalanche only to return 500 years later, all in the name of a Wii like Eric Cartman.

Science be praised!

Anonymous said...

cia beeeeeeeeeeee