There have been many studies which suggest that patients with heart failure were potassium depleted. This depletion has been attributed to the use of potent diuretics, and these are now given with either potassium supplements or potassium-retaining diuretics. A detailed examination of the studies suggests that the reported decrease in body potassium compared with the results in healthy persons is not due to the diuretics. It can be partly explained by a failure to match patients and controls in terms of age, and the remaining difference can be explained by muscle wasting. There is therefore no evidence of a potassium depletion in these patients with heart failure.
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