Plasma specific gravity for identifying hypovolaemia.

K. W. Dauterman, R. G. Bennett, W. B. Greenough, R. J. Redett, J. A. Gillespie, G. Applebaum, C. N. Schoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To define ranges of plasma specific gravity useful for identifying volume depletion in older adults, plasma specific gravity was measured in 170 young adults (mean age 28 years) and 100 retirees (mean age 81 years), and ranges of values likely to be associated with volume depletion were defined. Subsequently, measurements of plasma specific gravity were made in 68 older emergency room (ER) patients (mean age 74 years), a few of whom had obvious reasons for being hypovolaemic, e.g. dehydrating diarrhoea, and these results were compared to those for the control groups. Ranges for plasma specific gravity useful for identifying volume depletion were designated as possible hypovolaemia (1.0265-1.0279), probable hypovolaemia (1.0280-1.0294), and hypovolaemia (> or = 1.0295). Using these definitions, there were more older ER patients compared to both young and old control group subjects, respectively, with probable hypovolaemia (21% vs. 5% and 8%; p < 0.03) and hypovolaemia (16% vs. 0% and 0%; p < 0.03). This study establishes ranges for plasma specific gravity for young and old adults likely to be associated with hypovolaemia, and shows that based upon measurement of plasma specific gravity, older ER patients may often be hypovolemic even in the absence of obvious fluid-wasting illnesses. Future studies are needed to identify the risk factors for hypovolaemia in ER patients, and more vigorously substantiate the findings of this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Diarrhoeal Diseases Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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