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Medicine (Baltimore). 1981 Sep;60(5):339-54.

Internal potassium balance and the control of the plasma potassium concentration.


The plasma potassium concentration is determined both by external potassium balance and by the distribution of potassium between extracellular and intracellular fluid compartments, i.e., "internal potassium balance." Whenever external potassium balance is altered, the resultant change in the plasma potassium concentration is strongly influenced by concomitant alterations in internal potassium balance. Several factors alter internal potassium balance independently of changes in external balance. Acid-base disturbances produce shifts of potassium into or out of cells, but attempts to quantify these effects are not likely to be clinically useful. Hypertonicity produces a shift of potassium out of cells. Several hormones (insulin, aldosterone, catecholamines, glucagon, and growth hormone) may have roles in internal potassium balance. Digitalis and succinylcholine, by producing efflux of potassium from cells, may cause hyperkalemia. Potassium is released from skeletal muscle during exercise, causing an increase in the plasma potassium concentration. The periodic paralyses are associated with well-defined transient alterations in internal potassium balance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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