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

Etiologies Of Hyperkalemia

Hyperkalemia is classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the serum potassium level.12 (See Table 1.) In the general population, hyperkalemia has been found in 2.6% to 3.2% of patients studied, but in patients with chronic kidney disease, its occurrence is between 7.7% and 73%.13- 15 A retrospective chart review of almost 250,000 patients with chronic kidney disease found that a single episode of hyperkalemia increased the risk of mortality within 1 day of the event being found.16 Based upon this risk, the emergency clinician should prioritize diagnostic testing, intervene at an early stage of the patient’s workup, and maintain a low threshold for admission.

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