The fact that during each day a normal person ingests by mouth and excretes in the urine and stool several grams of potassium had led to use of the expression "potassium balance." Since approximately 80 per cent of the output of potassium is excreted by the kidney, it has usually been assumed that the renal parenchyma possesses a special ability to excrete this ion. Indeed, the rapid renal excretion of potassium after the ingestion of a considerable amount of a potassium salt has been suggested as a reason for the nontoxic effect of potassium on the normal organism. If renal excretion is seriously impaired, as it may be in the presence of renal disease, it might be suspected that retention of potassium in the blood serum analogous to retention of other excretory constituents of the urine would occur. In animals with experimentally produced lesions of the kidneys, including bilateral nephrectomy,
KEITH NM, KING HE, OSTERBERG AE. SERUM CONCENTRATION AND RENAL CLEARANCE OF POTASSIUM IN SEVERE RENAL INSUFFICIENCY IN MAN. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1943;71(5):675–701. doi:10.1001/archinte.1943.00210050095009
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