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October 1956

Electrolyte Concentrations in Sweat and Saliva: A Comparison in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis of the Pancreas and Other Conditions

Author Affiliations

Research Associate, Department of Pediatric Research (Dr. Kaiser), Acting Chairman, Department of Pediatrics (Dr. Kunstadter), and Assistant to the Chairman, Department of Pediatrics (Dr. Mendelsohn), Michael Reese Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1956;92(4):369-373. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1956.02060030363005

Studies conducted in our laboratories in connection with the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis of the pancreas in children led us to the comparison of electrolyte concentrations in the sweat and saliva in patients with this disease. The sodium and chloride determination in sweat as performed by di Sant' Agnese * proved to be a very dependable test in diagnosing cystic fibrosis of the pancreas. Chloride concentration above 60 mEq/liter occurred, with but few exceptions, in the sweat of those who had cystic fibrosis of the pancreas. Sodium concentrations presented a greater overlap, but no patients with cystic fibrosis of the pancreas had values of less than 80 mEq/liter. In order to collect sweat the children are placed in a plastic bag for about an hour, as described by Shwachman.3 Because this procedure is uncomfortable and rather time-consuming, it may not always be easy to perform on older infants and

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