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May 19, 1956


Author Affiliations

Spokane, Wash.

From the Clinical Laboratory, St. Luke's Hospital.

JAMA. 1956;161(3):218-220. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970030001009

The importance of an adequate study of fluid and electrolyte balance in patients is slowly but surely being recognized by the medical profession. Such studies not only may save the lives of critically ill patients but will prevent patients from becoming seriously ill as a result of a gradual accumulation of small daily deficits or excesses in fluids and electrolytes. The more general use of such studies is still being seriously retarded because of several factors, particularly in smaller hospitals. Now, with the availability of the flame photometer with which sodium and potassium levels are readily determined, the average hospital laboratory can perform the necessary tests rapidly, accurately, and economically. However, the greatest deterrent to the use of such studies is probably that the subject seems too overwhelming for the average busy practitioner and that the set-up of a fluid and electrolyte service sounds like too formidable an undertaking. This

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