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December 1960

The Significance of the Concentrations of Electrolytes in Stool Water During Infantile Diarrhea

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Pediatrics of the Baltimore City Hospitals and the Department of Pediatrics of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1960;100(6):809-813. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.04020040811002

Two considerations suggested the study reported here. First, the possibility exists that different etiologic agents causing infantile diarrhea may produce characteristic types of stool losses of water and electrolytes. Medical literature contains relatively little information on this point or on the stool composition of infants with diarrheal disease. Holt and co-workers in 1915 contributed a careful study on a small number of infants' diarrheal stools. Since then, several investigators have reported small series of analyses, usually as part of metabolic balance data.2-4 Most workers and texts have taken the mean values for the concentration of electrolytes in stool water from these studies to be generally characteristic of such concentrations in diarrheal stools of infants. In view of the variety of etiologic conditions giving rise to the symptom of diarrhea in infants, it seems justifiable to question this assumption. In adults suffering from cholera, a recent study5 showed electrolyte concentrations in

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