As the turn of the century, one of the primary drugs used in the treatment of
syphilis was mercury. Although the mercury had little, if any, effect on the syphilis, it did
produce a wide assortment of side effects including an increase in urine output. This
observation of elevated urine output following the administration of mercury stimulated a
great deal of research into safer and more effective diuretic agents. As a result, today
we possess a wide range of agents capable of stimulating urine output in a variety of
clinical situations. Several of these agents are available to the Medical NCO Specialist
in the field. Because of the potential dangers with diuretics, it is imperative that you
know how to handle and administer these agents properly.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
To understand the nature and actions of diuretics, it is essential to understand
a. Diuresis--a condition characterized by increased urine production and
increased urine output.
b. Diuretics--agents that increase urine output. In other words, diuretic agents
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE KIDNEY
The kidneys are organs of the urinary system which includes the ureters, the
urinary bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys are important organs in the operation of
the urinary system. The functions of this system include elimination of some of the
body's soluble waste products and the regulation of water and electrolyte balance.
a. Structure of the Kidney.
(1) Location. The kidneys, reddish organs that are shaped like kidney
beans, are located just above the waist between the parietal peritoneum and the
posterior wall of the abdomen. In relation to the vertebral column, the kidneys are
located between the last thoracic and the third lumbar vertebrae. The eleventh and
twelfth pairs of ribs partly protect the kidneys. Because liver is a large organ which
takes up space on the right side of the body, the right kidney is a little lower than the left