The Water and Electrolyte Content of the Human Heart in Congestive Heart Failure with and without Digitalization
The hearts of 25 patients have been serially analyzed for water, chloride, sodium and potassium content. Sixteen hearts were of patients who died in circulatory heart failure; some received digitalis and some did not. The water content of all hearts was the same. In circulatory heart failure, the sodium increases and potassium decreases but the sum of the two remains the same as in normal hearts, indicating a reciprocal relationship. Digitalis in circulatory heart failure restores the alkali metal values and ratios of heart muscle to near normal levels. Digitalis exerts a direct chemical action on the heart muscle.
- © 1952 American Heart Association, Inc.