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May 1944


Author Affiliations


From the Medical Clinic of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology of the Harvard Medical School.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1944;73(5):384-390. doi:10.1001/archinte.1944.00210170021003

Cardiac arrest due to an increase in the potassium of the serum to toxic levels has not been demonstrated in uremic patients who have maintained a large volume of urine up to the time of death. On the other hand, it has been shown that such arrest does occur regularly in dogs with ligated ureters.1 Cardiac arrest by the action of potassium was also observed in 2 patients with oliguria and anuria complicating severe nephritis.2 One of these patients had spontaneous elevation of the potassium of the serum to a level almost as high as that present at death. As each patient had received additional potassium salts, it was not possible to attribute death exclusively to the type of spontaneous potassium intoxication observed in dogs with experimental anuria.

In the cases to be described here potassium intoxication resulted from oliguria and failure of renal excretion. No potassium was

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