The electrical resistance across the whole body and its segments to the conduction of a weak alternating current was determined in human subjects under three different conditions: (1) during bed rest, (2) during infusion of 1 liter of saline, and (3) during donation of 1 unit of blood. During bed rest, extracellular and total body water were measured by dilution of bromide and heavy water, respectively. Electrical resistance obtained from electrodes placed on proximal portions of extremities ("proximal resistance") accounted for less than 50% of that determined by electrodes positioned on routinely used portions of a hand and foot ("whole body resistance"). Following saline infusion, resistance determined from the whole body and all its segments fell (P < 0.001); the magnitude of the drop in both proximal and whole body resistance was inversely related to the volume of total body water (TBW) (r = -0.82, P < 0.002, and r = -0.73,P < 0.01, respectively). In contrast, blood donation was associated with significantly increased resistance at both measurement sites. TBW predicted from anthropometrics was inversely related to both proximal (r = -0.90, P < 0.001) and whole body resistance (r = -0.75, P < 0.001). Bioelectrical impedance analysis is a simple technique which may be useful in monitoring minimal alterations in TBW. Furthermore, altered fluid status may be predicted more accurately by changes in proximal resistance compared to changes in traditionally used whole body resistance.
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