Electrolyte Blood Press.  2021 Jun;19(1):15-18. 10.5049/EBP.2021.19.1.15.

Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome Associated with Hypernatremia Caused by Lactulose Enema in a Patient with Chronic Alcoholism

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gwangju Veterans Hospital, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Republic of Korea


A 44-year-old man with chronic alcoholism presented with seizure and loss of consciousness. He was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatic encephalopathy, and his neurologic symptoms recovered after lactulose enema treatment. His initial serum sodium level was 141 mEq/L. However, his mental state became confused after treatment with lactulose enema for five days, and his serum sodium level increased to 178 mEq/L. After five days of gradual correction of serum sodium level from 178 mEq/L to 140 mEq/L, the patient’s mental state recovered, but motor weakness in both limbs remained. Therefore, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was performed. T2-weighted brain images showed bilateral symmetrical hyperintensities in the central pons, basal ganglia, thalami, hippocampi and unci, which were consistent with central pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis. We report a rare case of osmotic demyelination syndrome that occurred as a result of a rapid increase from a normal sodium level to hypernatremia caused by lactulose enema administered to treat alcoholic hepatic encephalopathy.


Central pontine myelinolysis; Extrapontine myelinolysis; Lactulose; Alcoholic; Hepatic encephalopathy
Full Text Links
  • EBP
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr