Published online Feb 20, 2012. doi: 10.5493/wjem.v2.i1.1
Revised: January 1, 2012
Accepted: February 13, 2012
Published online: February 20, 2012
AIM: To contrast the effects of various modifications of body fluid volumes on thirst as reported by healthy volunteers.
METHODS: Ten male volunteers aged between 19 and 37 years (mean 22 years) underwent four experiments each, which comprised infusion of 400-800 mL of acetated Ringer’s solution and intake of 600 mL of tap water. Half of the experiments were preceded by volume depletion (median 1.7 L) with furosemide. A visual analogue scale (0-100 mm) was used to assess perceived thirst during each experiment.
RESULTS: Volume depletion (P < 0.001) and tap water (P < 0.03) both affected thirst by 13 mm per L of fluid, whereas spontaneous diuresis and infusion of Ringer’s acetate did not significantly change the thirst rating (multiple regressions). More detailed analyses showed that the volume depletion increased the median (25th-75th percentiles) thirst rating from 28 mm (21-43) to 59 mm (46-72, P < 0.001) while no change occurred in those who were only slightly thirsty (< 30 mm) before the volume depletion began. Ringer’s solution alleviated thirst in those who were very thirsty, but tended to increase thirst in the volunteers who were not thirsty before the infusion. Similarly, hydration with tap water decreased thirst (by 24 mm, P < 0.04) in those who were thirsty (> 60 mm) while the others reported no change.
CONCLUSION: The change in thirst rating during volume depletion, administration of Ringer’s acetate, and ingestion of tap water were all dependent on the thirst rating obtained when the manipulation of the body fluid volume was initiated.