The major electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and chloride

J Intraven Nurs. 1994 Sep-Oct;17(5):240-7.


Electrolytes are substances that dissociate in solution and have the ability to conduct an electrical current. These substances are located in the extracellular and intracellular fluid. Within the extracellular fluid, the major cation is sodium and the major anion is chloride. The major cation in the intracellular fluid is potassium. These electrolytes play an important role in maintaining homeostasis. In this article, the etiology, signs, symptoms, and treatments for imbalances of these three electrolytes are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlorides / physiology*
  • Extracellular Space
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Fluid
  • Potassium / physiology*
  • Sodium / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance* / diagnosis
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance* / etiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance* / therapy


  • Chlorides
  • Sodium
  • Potassium