Depletion of Body Potassium by Diuretics
A study was designed to evaluate the [see table in the PDF file] [see table in the PDF file] hypothesis that the hypokalemia associated with the administration of thiazide diuretics reflects a redistribution of potassium rather than a depletion of body potassium. Exchangeable potassium, total body potassium, total body water, extracellular fluid volume, and serum sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, and pH of a group of hypertensive subjects were measured before and after 4 weeks of administration of dichlorphenamide and hydrochlorothiazide to these subjects.
Significant decreases were observed in serum potassium (1.05 mEq/L), serum chloride (8.22 mEq/L), exchangeable potassium (21.1%), and total body potassium (16.7%) without a significant change in serum pH, sodium, and bicarbonate. Body weight, total body water, and extracellular fluid volume also decreased, but the change in body weight was not sufficient to explain the potassium deficit produced. The mechanisms responsible for the loss of potassium are discussed.
- © 1966 American Heart Association, Inc.