Abstract In clinical usage the terms hypokaliemia and hypopotassemia are taken to indicate a lowering in the concentrations of this ion in serum or plasma below the usual range present in health, even though the words themselves refer to levels in blood. The lower limits of these sets of values are 3.3 mEq. per liter in growing children, in young adults, and in old men and women and above 4 mEq. per liter in newborn infants.* The fact that all of the potassium in serum is ultrafiltrable suggests that it is present entirely in the ionized form.1 Hence lowered serum levels of this electrolyte can be taken to reflect comparable changes in the potassium concentration of the extracellular fluid as a whole, i. e., in the interstitial spaces as well as in the plasma. Such lowered levels of extracellular potassium may be present without any change in the total amount References 1. Danowski, T. S.: Serum Electrolytes in Relationship to Age and Sex, unpublished data. 2. References 4 and 5. 3. Danowski, T. S.: Renal Conservation of Potassium with Varying Sodium Intake, unpublished data. 4. Tarail, R.; Hacker, E. S., and Taymor, R.: The Ultrafiltrability of Potassium and Sodium in Human Serum , J. Clin. Invest. 31:23-26 ( (Jan.) ) 1952.Crossref 5. Elkinton, J. R.; Winkler, A. W., and Danowski, T. S.: Transfers of Cell Sodium and Potassium in Experimental and Clinical Conditions , J. Clin. Invest. 27:74-81 ( (Jan.) ) 1948.Crossref 6. Butler, A. M.; Talbot, N. B., and MacLachlan, E. A.: Effect of Testosterone Therapy on Concentration of Potassium in Serum , Proc. Soc. Exper. Biol. & Med. 51:378-380 ( (Dec.) ) 1942. 7. Danowski, T. S.: The Transfer of Potassium Across the Human Blood Cell Membrane , J. Biol. Chem. 139:693-705 ( (June) ) 1941. 8. Terner, C.; Eggleston, L. V., and Krebs, H. A.: The Role of Glutamic Acid in the Transport of Potassium in Brain and Retina , Biochem. J. 47: 139-149 ( (Aug.) ) 1950. 9. Gillespie, H. K.; Danowski, T. S., and Leinberger, M. H.: Electrolyte Changes During Glucose Tolerance Tests, in Program of Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting, Society for Pediatric Research, Buck Hill Falls, Pa., May 5-7, 1954, p. 59. 10. Fenn, W. O.: The Deposition of Potassium and Phosphate with Glycogen in Rat Livers , J. Biol. Chem. 128:297-307 ( (April) ) 1939. 11. Mackler, B.; Lichtenstein, H., and Guest, G. M.: Effects of Ammonium Chloride Acidosis on the Action of Insulin in Dogs , Am. J. Physiol. 166:191-198 ( (July) ) 1951. 12. Elkinton, J. R., and Winkler, A. W.: Transfers of Intracellular Potassium in Experimental Dehydration , J. Clin. Invest. 23:93-101 ( (Jan.) ) 1944. 13. Darrow, D. C.: The Effect of Cation Exchange in Muscle on Acid-Base Equilibrium in Metabolic Alkalosis , Journal-Lancet 84:244-246 ( (June) ) 1953. 14. Danowski, T. S.; Elkinton, J. R.; Burrows, B. A., and Winkler, A. W.: Exchanges of Sodium and Potassium in Familial Periodic Paralysis , J. Clin. Invest. 27:65-73 ( (Jan.) ) 1948. 15. Tarail, R., and Elkinton, J. R.: Potassium Deficiency and the Role of the Kidney in Its Production , J. Clin. Invest. 28:99-113 ( (Jan.) ) 1949. 16. Danowski, T. S., and Elkinton, J. R.: Exchanges of Potassium Related to Organs and Systems , Pharmacol. Rev. 3:42-58 ( (March) ) 1951. 17. Danowski, T. S., and Tarail, R.: Potassium Metabolism and Dysfunction of the Nervous System Associated with Hyper- and Hypokaliemia. Res. Publ., A. Nerv. & Ment. Dis. 32:372-391 ( (Dec. 12 and 13) ) 1952. 18. Harrison, H. E.; Harrison, H. C.; Tompsett, R. R., and Barr, D. P.: Potassium Deficiency in a Case of Lymphosarcoma with the Sprue Syndrome , Am. J. Med. 2:131-143 ( (Feb.) ) 1947. 19. Friedman, M., and Bine, R., Jr.: Observations Concerning the Influence of Potassium upon the Action of a Digitalis Glycoside (Lanatoside C) , Am. J. M. Sc. 214:633-638 ( (Dec.) ) 1947.
A.M.A. Archives of Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Mar 1, 1955