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Myoedema in the Detection Of Hypoalbuminemia

James Lenthall, MD; Arthur J. Donovan, MD
JAMA. 1966;198(3):329. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110160157058.
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To the Editor:—  Myoedema is a localized contraction of a skeletal muscle observed at the site of the infliction of a sharp but light blow by an object such as a percussion hammer. The contracted muscle forms a ridge, transverse to the long axis of the fibers of the muscle. This abnormal phenomenon does not represent edema of muscle as the term implies. The contraction usually persists for five to eight seconds. Muscle hyperirritability due to imbalance of the intracellular ratio of sodium to potassium has been suggested as the cause of this phenomenon.1 Myoedema has been observed in patients with chronic pulmonary disease and other chronic debilitating illnesses and has recently been suggested as a simple, reliable bedside test for detection of hypoalbuminemia.2,3 Conn and Smith2 reported myoedema to be present in all of 44 patients with albumin levels below 3 gm/100 ml. Of 28 patients


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