Renal excretion, skeletal muscle content and plasma concentration of electrolytes were studied in 108 patients on long-term diuretic therapy for congestive heart failure and/or arterial hypertension. As reference populations served a group of 16 healthy volunteers and a group of 22 patients with liver cirrhosis, but not on diuretic therapy. Diuretic therapy was found to deprive the patients of their ability to conserve potassium and magnesium when there was a simultaneous cellular depletion of these ions. Magnesium excretion was found to be correlated to the skeletal muscle magnesium content. An inverted Na/K ratio in urine and a low magnesium excretion were fair indicators of cellular magnesium depletion.