Fractional excretion of electrolytes, renal acidification capacity and the renin-aldosterone system have been studied in 5 non-azotemic children, 19-25 months old, with mineralocorticoid resistant hyperkalemia, discovered in the first month of life. Although fractional potassium excretion was similar in patients and in a group of control healthy children (13.8 +/- 5.2% vs. 8.7 +/- 6.4%) it was inappropriately low in the patients for their higher potassium concentration. Fractional sodium excretion was significantly increased in the patients (1.6 +/- 0.3% vs. 0.67 +/- 0.4, p less than 0.02). Normal net acid and ammonium excretion and intact ability to lower urinary pH during acid loading were observed in all patients. Mean values for plasma aldosterone (37.0 +/- 9.1 vs. 13.9 +/- 11.2 ng/dl), plasma renin activity (12.5 +/- 3.9 vs. 8 +/- 2.8 ng/ml/h) and plasma aldosterone/plasma potassium ratio (7.11 +/- 1.5 vs. 3.08 +/- 1.7) were higher in the patients than in the control subjects (all p less than 0.001). These data support the hypothesis that a partial lack of response of the renal tubule to endogenous mineralocorticoids was present in the patients. This type of pseudohypoaldosteronism is less severe than that described for the classic form and for early childhood renal acidosis.