<< Evidence-Based Management of Potassium Disorders in the Emergency Department (Pharmacology CME)

Pathophysiology Of Potassium Regulation

Potassium is the most abundant ion in the body, with about 98% of it located intracellularly. Cellular potassium levels range between 140 and 150 mmol/L, while the extracellular fluid potassium concentration ranges between 3.5 and 5 mmol/L. The cellular gradient of potassium is maintained by the sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase (Na+/K+-ATPase) pump in the cell membrane, which actively transports potassium into and sodium out of the cell.The large potassium gradient between the intracellular and extracellular compartments is fundamental to several vital cellular functions, including the excitability of nerves and muscle, cardiac pacemaker activity, and the resting cell membrane potential.

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