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April 1965

Multiple Episodes of Potassium Deficiency: The Effect on Renal Structure and Function

Author Affiliations

From the Indiana University Medical Center. Professor of Pediatrics (Dr. Segar) and Professor of Pathology (Dr. Schulz).

Am J Dis Child. 1965;109(4):295-297. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090020297005

PREVIOUS studies have indicated that rats develop an inability to concentrate urine maximally after three days of potassium deficiency.1 After seven days of potassium deficiency, typical histological changes are evident in the renal tubular cells.2 If potassium deficiency is of short duration, the resultant functional and structural changes in the kidney are reversible; however, if the potassium deficiency is prolonged, individual cellular changes characteristic of potassium deficiency disappear, but functional lesions persist along with nonspecific structural changes such as scarring and tubular dilatation.1,3 These changes may predispose the animal to the subsequent development of pyelonephritis.4

Although children seldom experience potassium deficiency of long duration, relatively short periods of severe potassium deficiency may be repeatedly experienced as a consequence of gastroenteritis and other illnesses.5 The present study was conducted to determine what, if any, residual renal damage can be expected as the result of repeated periods

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