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Diabetes Insipidus (DI) Post-operative Neurosurgical Management

Pathway Background and Objective(s)

Diabetes Insipidus (DI) refers to the passage of large volumes of dilute urine, and may result from the decreased secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) by the posterior pituitary gland. Patients undergoing neurosurgical surgery in the sellar or parasellar region are at increased risk for post-operative DI, which may be transient, triphasic (DI → SIADH → DI), or permanent. Patients who do not have an intact thirst mechanism (adipisic central DI) are a particular challenge, as they may not drink enough to replace their urine losses, which can result in severe hypernatremia. Uncontrolled hypernatremia has adverse effects, including increased risk of neurological sequelae and venothromboembolism. In addition, provider variability and inconsistent care delivery can be significant barriers in establishing a timely diagnosis of DI. The objectives of this pathway are to:

  • Standardize the management of post-operative patients at risk for developing DI by standardizing:
    • Initial PICU monitoring for the development of DI
    • Initial PICU management if DI develops
    • Medical readiness criteria for patients to transfer to the med/surg floors
  • Standardize the management of post-operative patients with confirmed DI in the PICU and on the floors by:
    • Minimizing fluctuations in sodium levels and volume status
    • Expediting the development of an outpatient plan in order to facilitate a safe discharge home


Download Diabetes Insipidus (DI) Post-operative Neurosurgical Management Pathway AlgorithmUpdated October 28, 2021

Quality Metrics

  • Quality Metrics are currently under development

Educational Module

Download Diabetes Insipidus (DI) Post-operative Neurosurgical Management Educational ModuleUpdated November 17, 2021

Key References

Pathway Contacts

  • Cem Demirci, MD – Division of Endocrinology
  • Emily Germain-Lee, MD – Division of Endocrinology
  • David Hersh, MD – Division of Neurosurgery
  • Jonathan Martin, MD – Division of Neurosurgery
  • Elliot Melendez, MD – Division of Critical Care


The clinical pathways in the above links have been developed specifically for use at Connecticut Children’s and are made available publicly for informational and/or educational purposes only. The clinical pathways are not intended to be, nor are they, a substitute for individualized professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Although Connecticut Children’s makes all efforts to ensure the accuracy of the posted content, Connecticut Children’s makes no warranty of any kind as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or its fitness for use at any particular facility or in any individual case.

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