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November 17, 1951


Author Affiliations

St. Louis

From the Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine. Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, under a grant-in-aid from the National Heart Institute.

JAMA. 1951;147(12):1109-1118. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670290017006

The term "diuresis" is derived from the Greek διά, meaning "through" and ο[unk]ρε[unk]ν, to urinate, and implies not only an increased excretion of urinary water, but also an increase in other urinary constituents. While some diuretic agents actually promote the excretion of urine, others, especially the more useful ones, act primarily on one constituent of urine, increasing the others only secondarily and not always regularly. Therefore, the principal actions of the various diuretic agents must be considered in relation to special therapeutic problems.

At the present, diuretics are used mainly to remove via the kidneys excess fluid and electrolytes that have been retained in the body, although diuretics may also be employed for irrigating the urinary passages with water, for promoting dehydration, or for establishing a normal urinary output in oliguric states. Therefore, their principal use is in edema. Since edema fluid is composed mainly of water and electrolytes, especially