1. The mineralocorticoid 9α-fluorohydrocortisone was given to 12 patients with cirrhosis without ascites. In seven an ‘escape’ from its sodium-retaining effects was observed, the other five continuing to retain sodium.
2. Changes in plasma renin activity (PRA) and inulin clearance (Cinulin) were used in the assessment of possible changes in the ‘effective’ extracellular fluid volume. PRA fell and Cinulin increased to a similar extent in each of the two groups of patients. These findings do not support the concept that the failure to show the mineralocorticoid escape in some patients with cirrhosis is due to a failure of expansion of the effective extracellular fluid volume.
3. Sodium reabsorption in the different segments of the nephron as estimated by clearance techniques under conditions of maximal water diuresis showed that the greatest changes to account for both mineralocorticoid escape and sodium retention were in the part of the nephron beyond the diluting segment.