Body fluid homeostasis in congestive heart failure and cirrhosis with ascites

Karl L. Skorecki, Barry M. Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The urinary excretion of salt and water in man is regulated by a variety of renal and extrarenal mechanisms that respond to changes in dietary sodium intake as well as to alterations in the holding capacity of the vascular and interstitial compartments. Changes in extracellular fluid volume are detected by volume sensors located in the intrathoracic vascular bed, the kidney and other organs. These sensing mechanisms gauge the adequacy of intravascular volume relative to capacitance at various sites within the circulation. Congestive heart failure and cirrhosis with ascites are two disease states of man in which a hemodynamic disturbance within a given circulatory subcompartment is perceived by these sensing mechanisms and results in renal sodium retention. While the primary disturbance in both of these conditions originates outside the kidney, a variety of renal effector mechanisms respond to the perceived circulatory disturbance and result in enhanced tubule reabsorption of salt and water. These effector mechanisms involve physical adjustments in renal microvascular hemodynamics, tubule fluid composition and flow rate and transtubular ion gradients. These in turn are partially regulated by a variety of neural and humoral pathways including the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis, prostaglandins and kinins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-338
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1982


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