Blood Volume, Serum Protein, and Hematocrit Changes in Abnormal Nutritional States

AMA Arch Surg. 1958;77(2):191-195. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1958.01290020041008.
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It is known that the organism attempts to sustain hemoglobin and plasma proteins at the expense of tissue proteins.5 Furthermore, it is recognized that plasma protein concentration and hematocrit percentage may yield normal values after this mechanism has been exhausted by virtue of simultaneous alterations in the absolute values of some of the blood components. This recognition arises from ubiquitous experience with random, simultaneous determinations of absolute and relative levels of various intravascular components in subjects with nutritional deficits the types and magnitudes of which are not precisely defined. Keys et al.1 made such observations in one type of nutritional deficit (chronic underfeeding) in human volunteers who were underfed to 76% of their initial body weight. Such studies have not been made in other types of nutritional abnormalities. Furthermore, the study cited above was not pursued into the zone of extreme undernutrition. The latter cannot, of course, be


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