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The effectiveness of 5 different solutions on the absorption of fluid and electrolytes was tested in 7 patients with a proximal intestinal stoma and large fluid losses, all of whom previously needed intravenous infusions to maintain balance. In 4 patients it proved possible to replace the intravenous infusions with an enteral supplement. The WHO glucose/electrolyte solution without added potassium (NaCl 3.5 g, NaHCO3 2.5 g, glucose 20 g/l) gave satisfactory results, though was slightly less effective than a solution containing more sodium in which maltose was substituted for glucose. Neither sucrose nor an oligosaccharide (Caloreen) gave an advantage over glucose in the formulations used. In 3 patients losses were so great, and absorption of sodium from oral solutions so small, that intravenous supplements had to be continued. These 3 patients could be distinguished from the other 4 by the fact that more than 250 ml emerged from the stoma during the 3 hours after a drink of 500 ml of glucose/electrolyte solution. In all patients a drink of water or tea led to a loss of sodium from the stoma; water should be restricted in such patients and replaced by a glucose/electrolyte solution.