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Published January 1, 1931 | public
Journal Article Open

The Energy Cost of the Excretion of Urine


The energy consumption of the kidney has been estimated by a number of experimenters and by different methods; and the values obtained are all of the same order of magnitude. The concordance of these values justifies an estimate of the efficiency of the kidney, i.e., of the ratio of the work performed, calculated from the constitution of the urine, to the energy used. The efficiency of the kidney, defined in this way, appears, even in health, to be about 1-2 per cent. So far as the authors are aware, there are no data inconsistent with this low figure. Rather the reverse, this association of the thermodynamic work with the observed energy consumption of the kidney permits the correlation of a large number of facts regarding the behavior of the kidney in health and disease.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1935 by the National Academy of Sciences. Read before the Academy, September 23, 1930. The authors wish to thank Professor R.C. Tolman for his interest in and assistance with this work. The authors are indebted to the Pasadena General Hospital, and particularly to Miss Nena Lind and Dr. R.N. Crumrine for their generosity and hospitality in placing the metabolism laboratory of the hospital at their disposal.


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