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Redistribution of electrolytes

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Rarely causes clinically significant hypokalaemia. Although the serum potassium is low, total body potassium levels are usually normal.

Majority transcellular potassium shifts are caused by:

  • medication
    • insulin overdose
    • beta 2 sympathomimetics
    • decongestants
    • xanthenes
    • verapamil intoxication
  • alkalosis
  • refeeding syndrome
  • increased beta 2 adrenergic stimulation
    • delirium tremens
    • head injury
    • myocardial ischemia
  • thyrotoxicosis
  • hypothermia (1,2)


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