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Related to electrolyte disturbances: Electrolyte disorders


(ĭlĕk`trəlīt'), electrical conductor in which current is carried by ionsion,
atom or group of atoms having a net electric charge. Positive and Negative Electric Charges

A neutral atom or group of atoms becomes an ion by gaining or losing one or more electrons or protons.
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 rather than by free electrons (as in a metal). Electrolytes include water solutions of acids, bases, or salts; certain pure liquids; and molten salts. Gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. All inorganic acids, bases, and salts are electrolytes. Electrolytic substances are classified as strong or weak according to how readily they dissociate into conducting ions. Potassium chloride and sodium hydroxide are strong electrolytes; they are almost completely dissociated when in solution or fused. Acetic acid is a weak electrolyte. An electrolyte is decomposed when a current passes through it (see electrolysiselectrolysis
, passage of an electric current through a conducting solution or molten salt that is decomposed in the process. The Electrolytic Process

The electrolytic process requires that an electrolyte, an ionized solution or molten metallic salt, complete an
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a liquid or solid compound or system in which some noticeable concentration of ions that provide for the passage of electric current is present. In the narrow sense, electrolytes are substances whose solutions conduct electric current by means of ions, formed as a result of electrolytic dissociation.

A distinction is made between strong and weak electrolytes in solution. Strong electrolytes virtually completely dissociate into ions in dilute solutions. They include many inorganic salts and several inorganic acids and bases in aqueous solutions and in solvents possessing high dissociating capacity, such as alcohols and amides. The molecules of weak electrolytes in solution are only partially dissociated into ions, which are in dynamic equilibrium with the undissociated molecules. Weak electrolytes include most organic acids and many organic bases in aqueous and nonaqueous solvents. The division of electrolytes into strong and weak electrolytes is somewhat arbitrary, since it reflects not the properties of the electrolytes themselves but their state in solution, which depends on the concentration, on the nature of the solvent, on temperature, and on pressure.

On the basis of the number of ions into which one electrolyte molecule dissociates in solution, a distinction is made between binary electrolytes (written 1–1 electrolytes; for example, KCl), unibivalent electrolytes (written 1–2 electrolytes; for example, CaCl2), and so forth. Electrolytes of types 1–1, 2–2, and 3–3 are called symmetrical electrolytes, while electrolytes of types 1–2 and 1–3 are called nonsymmetrical electrolytes.

The properties of dilute solutions of weak electrolytes are described satisfactorily by the classical theory of electrolytic dissociation. The theory is inapplicable for insufficiently dilute solutions of weak electrolytes and for solutions of strong electrolytes, since these are complex systems consisting of ions, undissociated molecules or ion pairs, and larger aggregates. The properties of such solutions are determined by the nature of the ion-ion and ion-solvent interactions and by changes in the properties and structure of the solvent caused by the dissolved particles. The modern statistical theories of strong electrolytes adequately describe the properties of only very dilute solutions (<0.1 mole/liter).

Electrolytes are extremely important in science and technology. All liquid systems in living organisms contain electrolytes. Polyelectrolytes constitute an important class of electrolytes (seePOLYELECTROLYTE). Electrolytes are a medium for carrying out many chemical syntheses and electrochemical production processes. Nonaqueous electrolyte solutions are playing an ever increasing role in these applications. The study of the properties of electrolyte solutions is important in the design of new chemical sources of electric current and the improvement of technological processes for the separation of compounds by extraction from solution and ion exchange.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(physical chemistry)
A chemical compound which when molten or dissolved in certain solvents, usually water, will conduct an electric current.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a solution or molten substance that conducts electricity
a. a chemical compound that dissociates in solution into ions
b. any of the ions themselves
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A liquid, gelatinous or solid material that contains ions. In a battery, the electrolyte is the material that allows electricity to flow from one plate to another (between positive and negative electrodes). See battery, lithium polymer, solid state battery and batteries.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
Electrolyte disturbances associated with commonly prescribed medications in the intensive care unit.
The elements to diagnose CCD include typical AUS findings, typical post-natal serum electrolyte disturbances, and typical SE findings.
To prevent VLBW preterm infants with SGA from developing severe electrolyte disturbances associated with refeeding syndrome, careful monitoring of serum electrolytes including phosphate is essential during the first week of life, and administration of potassium and phosphorus must be started earlier appropriate for gestational age preterm infants.
In the differential diagnosis, cerebral venous thrombosis, bilateral posterior lobe infections, herpes virus and other viral encephalitis, and cerebral changes related with electrolyte disturbances should be considered (9).
Electrolyte disturbances in malnourished children may be sub-clinical, but they become obvious with diarrhoeal illness.
Early AEs often expected with percutaneous hepatic perfusion were observed including coagulopathy, electrolyte disturbances and transient transaminases (elevated liver enzymes).
Renal and hepatic failure with electrolyte disturbances, including hypokalaemia and hypoglycaemia, have been noted in several cases.
Markedly varying results of electrolyte disturbances were found, which might be explained by the fact, that most of them were referral cases with lack of proper fluid and electrolyte management; hence explaining the reason for conducting this study.
(3,6) Current research suggests that several factors play a role in the development of rhabdomyolysis, such as decreased protein synthesis and sarcolemmal excitability, increased protein degradation, modifications in carbohydrate metabolism, mitochondrial changes and electrolyte disturbances. Steve Lim (2010) suggests that the use of fluorinated steroids such as dexamethasone or triamcinolone more frequently causes steroid myopathy than non-fluorinated steroids such as prednisone or hydrocortisone.
No serious adverse effects were reported by any individual, but the study noted changes in the participants' sodium and chloride concentrations, suggesting that those interested in going to a spa program should check with their physician to make sure they do not have any medical problems or medications that could put them at risk for electrolyte disturbances.
"Older adults, like their younger counterparts, should not initiate dialysis on the basis of [estimated glomerular filtration] alone, but can wait to delay dialysis initiation until more traditional clinical indicators appear, such as fluid overload that can't be managed with diuretics; uremic symptoms, which interfere with quality of life; or electrolyte disturbances," said Dr.
Acute diarrhoea has several risks and complications; it may lead to life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte disturbances. When diarrhoea is not halted, there is a risk of disturbed digestion and absorption of nutrients with nutritional deterioration.

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