THE THEORETICAL basis for blood volume studies in surgical patients has been well established by many investigators.1 More recently, Lyons and his co-workers2 have been responsible for reemphasizing the physiologic and therapeutic implications gained from these measurements.
The availability of radioactive iodinated human serum albumin and the addition of radiation equipment to our surgical laboratories early in 1951 have permitted accurate and repeated studies of the blood and plasma volumes in a large number of patients. Subsequent experience has increased our awareness of the frequency of blood and plasma deficiencies in surgical patients and the dire consequences if unrecognized or untreated. Finally, this day-to-day knowledge of the patient's intravascular fluids and nutritional reserves has resulted in an improved morbidity and mortality following extensive gastrointestinal surgery.
It is our purpose to review the experience in a general surgical service over a 22-month period, stressing the findings in 260 patients