The intracellular sodium, potassium, and water content of isolated leucocytes was estimated in 47 patients with cirrhosis. The values for sodium showed a wide scatter. In patients without ascites the mean value was significantly increased but in those accumulating ascites it was normal, although often reduced in individual subjects. Reduced values were found in patients with hyponatraemia associated with end-stage cirrhosis and diuretic treatment. Changes in leucocyte water content closely followed those in sodium content. Leucocyte potassium content was normal except in patients accumulating ascites in whom it was significantly reduced, indicating whole body depletion, and this could be corrected by administration of spironolactone.
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