Transient diabetes insipidus in critically ill COVID19 patients

Liran Statlender*, Guy Fishman, Moran Hellerman, Ilya Kagan, Itai Bendavid, Dan Gorfil, Shani Kaptzon, Pierre Singer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Vasopressin has become an important vasopressor drug while treating a critically ill patient to maintain adequate mean arterial pressure. Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a rare syndrome characterized by the excretion of a large volume of diluted urine, inappropriate for water homeostasis. We noticed that several COVID19 patients developed excessive polyuria suggestive of DI, with a concomitant plasma sodium-level increase and/or low urine osmolality. We noticed a temporal relationship between vasopressin treatment cessation and polyuria periods. We reviewed those cases to better describe this phenomenon. Methods: We retrospectively collected COVID19 ECMO patients' (from July 6, 2020, to November 30, 2021) data from the electronic medical records. By examining urine output, urine osmolality (if applicable), plasma sodium level, and plasma osmolality, we set DI diagnosis. We described the clinical course of DI episodes and compared baseline characteristics between patients who developed DI and those who did not. Results: Out of 37 patients, 12 had 18 episodes of DI. These patients were 7 years younger and had lower severity scores (APACHE-II and SOFA). Mortality difference was not seen between groups. 17 episodes occurred after vasopressin discontinuation; 14 episodes were treated with vasopressin reinstitution. DI lasted for a median of 21 h, with a median increase of 14 mEq/L of sodium. Conclusions: Temporary DI prevalence after vasopressin discontinuation in COVID19 ECMO patients might be higher than previously described for vasopressin-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154211
JournalJournal of Critical Care
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID19
  • Diabetes insipidus (DI)
  • ECMO
  • Polyuria
  • Vasopressin


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