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October 1977

Acute Potassium Deficit: Its Relationship to Polyuria in the Postoperative Period

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Surg. 1977;112(10):1165-1168. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370100019002

• Ten patients with no known history of metabolic or electrolyte disturbances were found to have acute polyuria immediately after stress or trauma. Investigation of these previously nondiabetic individuals showed severe hyperglycemia and glycosuria, together with hypokalemia. Whereas insulin may control to some degree the hyperglycemia and glycosuria, complete correction of the metabolic balance did not ensue until the potassium deficiency had been treated vigorously. Ten patients matched for operations of similar magnitude in whom hypokalemia, hyperglycemia, glycosuria, or polyuria did not develop following operation are also presented. Acute, otherwise unexplained polyuria secondary to glycosuria in the postoperative patient may be the result of transient glucose intolerance caused by potassium deficiency, a readily correctable abnormality.

(Arch Surg 112:1165-1168, 1977)