American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS: The 2nd International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia (EAH) Consensus Development Conference that convened in New Zealand in 2007 emphasized several very important points in terms of preventing and treating EAH.
Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, a professor at the University of Calgary and the editor-in-chief of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, was part of the 2007 EAH Consensus Panel, and recently presented the outcomes of this conference at the Rendezvous II in Las Vegas on March 28, 2008.
The over-consumption of fluids before, during, & after exercise was strongly discouraged. Athletes were encouraged to drink to thirst, and monitor their body weight pre- and post-training in different environments, while recognizing the limitations of this surveillance method. Electrolyte-containing sports drinks were deemed non-protective in terms of developing EAH in athletes who drink them excessively. It was recommended that fluid stations be placed every 20 km in the cycle portion of an ironman triathlon, and every 3-5 km in a standard marathon.
In terms of treatment, it was recommended that medical facilities at endurance events have the ability to perform on-site analysis of sodium levels, and immediate blood-drawing for electrolyte determination in any athlete exhibiting signs and symptoms of acute hyponatremia. Medical facilities should also have the ability to stabilize a symptomatic patient, immediately administer IV hypertonic saline, and transport him or her to the ER while coordinating with emergency personnel. Isotonic and hypotonic fluids are to be avoided.
The consensus-development conference panel also stressed the importance of effective collaboration among the medical and race staff in terms of the number and placement of aid stations, disseminating drinking advice to athletes, ensuring that there is no conflict between this advice and that being given by any race sponsor. The future areas of EAH research were also discussed in the conference.
Dr. Meeuwisse informed the audience that the Consensus Statement can be downloaded in PDF format at no cost from www.cjsportmed.com. A PowerPoint copy of the presentation can be downloaded from www.overhydration.info. Both the manuscript and PowerPoint presentation are intended to be freely distributed and have no copyright restrictions.
The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 1000 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.
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NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.