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Editorials |

"Phosphorus" or "Phosphate"

DONALD S. YOUNG, M.B., PH.D.
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Mayo Clinic; Rochester, Minnesota


Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(4):631. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-4-631_1
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Phosphate is one of the most commonly measured constituents of serum, but because it is one of the components analyzed by most multitest chemical analyzers in the clinical laboratory, the measurement is rarely of much clinical use. The causes of hyperphosphatemia and hypophosphatemia recently have been reviewed by Slatopolsky and associates (1) and Fitzgerald (2).

Phosphorus is present mainly in living organisms as inorganic phosphate or as organic phosphate esters. About 80% of the approximately 750 g of phosphorus in the adult human occurs in the bone matrix in insoluble calcium salts. Up to 15% of the total phosphate is

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