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March 1956

The Relationship of an Elevated Blood Sugar to an Electrolyte Imbalance

Author Affiliations

Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery (Dr. Rice) and Clinical Instructor of Surgery, University of Minnesota (Dr. Strickler); Resident in Surgery, St. Barnabas Hospital (Dr. Azeris).

AMA Arch Surg. 1956;72(3):508-513. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1956.01270210138022

An elevated blood sugar in the postoperative period, or in relation to the so-called alarm reaction, has been referred to by many authors.*

Our observations have led us to believe, in addition, that a finding of an elevated blood sugar often has a significant relationship to an electrolyte imbalance. These findings have been recorded,† though their corollary significance has not been adequately emphasized. In order to demonstrate the relationship of an elevated blood sugar to an electrolyte imbalance, we present the following study.

METHOD OF STUDY  Among 92 nondiabetic patients undergoing extensive major surgery (mostly gastric and colon resections for cancer or ulcer), serial electrolyte and blood-sugar studies were done every second or third day until the patient was again able to eat food. Three hundred thirty-two complete studies were done. This is a selected group of patients in that most of them posed a nutritional problem incident to their