Infants and young children with acute gastroenteritis have been studied with regard to stool electrolyte composition, external electrolyte balance, and aldosterone excretion. At the height of fluid depletion the stool sodium concentrations are low (median 8 m-equiv/1, range 3-58 m-equiv/1). The results indicate that in gastroenteritis the colon is responding homeostatically to a state of secondary hyperaldosteronism, thus assisting in sodium conservation.
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