Total body potassium was measured in 12 patients with cor pulmonale, by determination of potassium-40, a naturally occurring radioisotope. In all subjects the observed value of total body potassium showed no significant depletion when compared with that predicted from height and age. All previous studies in similar groups of patients have been confined to the estimation of exchangeable potassium by the technique of isotope dilution. Results using the latter technique have shown gross potassium depletion. It is suggested that the apparent disparity between total body potassium and exchangeable potassium could be explained by the requirement for a longer equilibration period when using isotope dilution techniques in patients who are in chronic hypoxaemic state.
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