Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter


electrolyte is a topic covered in the Taber's Medical Dictionary.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary Online + Mobile powered by Unbound Medicine. Find 65,000 medical and nursing definitions. Download to iPhone, iPad, and Android. Explore these free sample topics:

Taber’s Online

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --

(ĕ-lek′trŏ-līt″ )

[electro- + -lyte]

1. A solution that conducts electricity.
2. A substance that, in solution, conducts an electric current and is decomposed by its passage. Acids, bases, and salts are common electrolytes.
3. An ionized salt in blood, tissue fluids, and cells. These salts include sodium, potassium, and chlorine. SEE TABLE: Major Electrolytes
Major Electrolytes

ElectrolytePlasma Level
mEq/L*mEq/LICF LevelFunctions
Sodium (Na+)136-14210• Creates much of the osmotic pressure of ECF; the most abundant cation in ECF
• Essential for electrical activity of neurons and muscle cells
Potassium (K+)3.8-5.0141• Creates much of the osmotic pressure in ICF; the most abundant cation in ICF
• Essential for electrical activity of neurons and muscle cells
Calcium (Ca+2)4.6-5.51• Most (98%) is found in bones and teeth.
• Maintains normal excitability of neurons and muscle cells
• Essential for blood clotting
Magnesium (Mg+2)1.3-2.158• Most (50%) is found in bone
• More abundant in ICF than in ECF
• Essential for ATP production and activity of neurons and muscle cells
Chloride (Cl)95-1034• Most abundant anion in ECF; diffuses easily into and out of cells; helps regulate osmotic pressure
• Part of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in gastric juice
Bicarbonate (HCO3)2810• Part of the bicarbonate buffer system
Phosphate (HPO4−2)1.7-2.675• Most (85%) is found in bones and teeth
• Primarily an ICF anion
• Part of DNA, RNA, ATP, phospholipids
• Part of phosphate buffer system
Sulfate (SO4−2)12• Part of some amino acids and proteins


-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Venes, Donald, editor. "Electrolyte." Taber's Medical Dictionary, 23rd ed., F.A. Davis Company, 2017. Taber's Online, www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/758676/all/electrolyte.
Electrolyte. In: Venes D, ed. Taber's Medical Dictionary. 23rd ed. F.A. Davis Company; 2017. https://www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/758676/all/electrolyte. Accessed July 21, 2019.
Electrolyte. (2017). In Venes, D. (Ed.), Taber's Medical Dictionary. Available from https://www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/758676/all/electrolyte
Electrolyte [Internet]. In: Venes D, editors. Taber's Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company; 2017. [cited 2019 July 21]. Available from: https://www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/758676/all/electrolyte.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - electrolyte ID - 758676 ED - Venes,Donald, BT - Taber's Medical Dictionary UR - https://www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/758676/all/electrolyte PB - F.A. Davis Company ET - 23 DB - Taber's Online DP - Unbound Medicine ER -