Fast Five Quiz: Workup for Hyperkalemia

A. Brent Alper, Jr, MD


December 09, 2021

Hyperkalemia is characterized by serum or plasma potassium levels above the upper limits of normal, typically greater than 5.0-5.5 mEq/L. Although patients with mild hyperkalemia are often asymptomatic, high levels of potassium may cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness, or paralysis. Prevalence varies according to population, but estimates suggest that hyperkalemia occurs in as many as 10% of hospitalized patients worldwide. Hyperkalemia has a variety of etiologies; renal disease, heart failure, and use of certain medications (such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and aldosterone antagonists) are common risk factors. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential to preventing significant morbidity and mortality.

How familiar are you with the workup for hyperkalemia? Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.


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