Fast Five Quiz: Hyperkalemia Signs and Symptoms

A. Brent Alper, Jr, MD, MPH


January 19, 2021

Hyperkalemia is defined as a serum potassium concentration greater than approximately 5.0-5.5 mEq/L in adults. Ranges for infants and children are age-dependent. It is not often seen in the general population and occurs in about 10% of hospitalized patients worldwide. The causes of hyperkalemia are often multifactorial. An accurate patient history is vital in determining the potential pathophysiologic mechanisms, as this dictates treatment protocols.

Hyperkalemia is difficult to diagnose because most patients are asymptomatic. Most symptoms, when they do appear, are nonspecific and include fatigue and muscle weakness. Presentations of clear symptoms, such as acute bradycardia, are an indicator of advanced hyperkalemia, which can quickly cause life-threatening respiratory paralysis or cardiac arrest.

How much do you know about recognizing the signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia? Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.


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