Potassium Abnormalities in Current Clinical Practice: Frequency, Causes, Severity and Management

Eliacik E., YILDIRIM T., Sahin U., Kizilarslanoglu C., Tapan U., Aybal-Kutlugun A., ...More

MEDICAL PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE, vol.24, no.3, pp.271-275, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1159/000376580
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.271-275
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: We aimed to investigate the prevalence and etiology of potassium abnormalities (hypokalemia and hyperkalemia) and management approaches for hospitalized patients. Subjects and Methods: Over a 4-month period, all hospitalized patients at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty Hospitals who underwent at least one measurement of serum potassium during hospitalization were included. Data on serum levels of electrolytes, demographic characteristics, cause(s) of hospitalization, medications, etiology of potassium abnormality and treatment approaches were obtained from the hospital records. Results: Of the 9,045 hospitalized patients, 1,265 (14.0%) had a serum potassium abnormality; 604 (6.7%) patients had hypokalemia and 661 (7.30%) had hyperkalemia. In the hypokalemic patients, the most important reasons were gastrointestinal losses in 555 (91.8%) patients and renal losses in 252 (41.7%) patients. The most frequent treatment strategies were correcting the underlying cause and replacing the potassium deficit. Of the 604 hypokalemic patients, 319 (52.8%) were normokalemic at hospital discharge. The most common reason for hyperkalemia was treatment with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockers in 228 (34.4%) patients, followed by renal failure in 191 (28.8%). Two hundred and ninety-eight (45.0%) patients were followed without any specific treatment. Of the 661 hyperkalemic patients, 324 (49.0%) were normokalemic at hospital discharge. Conclusion: This study showed a high prevalence of potassium imbalance among hospitalized patients. Although most of the potassium abnormalities were mild/moderate, approximately half of the patients treated for hypokalemia or hyperkalemia were discharged from the hospital with ongoing dyskalemia. (C) 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel