This site is intended for healthcare professionals
Login | Register (NOW FREE)

Medical search

raised potassium

FREE subscriptions for doctors and students... click here
You have 3 open access pages.

Hyperkalaemia is an increase in the level of potassium in the blood. There is no agreed definition of hyperkalaemia, but serum concentrations greater than 5.5 mmol/l is usually quoted

  • it can be divided into
    • mild - 5.5–5.9 mmol/L
    • moderate - 6.0–6.4 mmol/L
    • severe - ≥6.5 mmol/L (1)
  • in addition to the absolute serum K + value, the rate of rise of serum K + is also important

Co-existing metabolic disturbances may ameliorate (e.g. hypernatraemia, hypercalcaemia, and alkalaemia) or exacerbate (e.g. hyponatraemia, hypocalcaemia or acidosis) the effects of hyperkalaemia (2).

Repetitive consecutive measures of serum potassium are needed to determine if hyperkalaemia is sustained or a transient event (2).

  • evaluation of serum potassium must take into consideration the effects of changes in serum pH
    • if serum pH decreases (acidaemia), serum potassium increases because potassium shifts from the cellular to the vascular space
    • if serum pH increases (alkalaemia), serum potassium decreases because potassium shifts intracellularly (3)

The condition is seen in 1-10% of hospitalised patients (1)

Hyperkalaemia may be fatal as a result of arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.



The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Copyright 2016 Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ®. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ® receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence. GPnotebook stores small data files on your computer called cookies so that we can recognise you and provide you with the best service. If you do not want to receive cookies please do not use GPnotebook.