Serum potassium in stage 5 CKD patients on their first presentation in a dialysis service of a county hospital in western Romania


CKD patients present deficient elimination of potassium. Ambulatory treatment with hypotensors, mainly angiotensin-renin system inhibitors, can be associated in these patients with potassium retention and risk of hyperkalemia. In pre-dialysis stage-5 CKD patients, the use of medication accompanied by hyperkalemia increases risks of developing it. Using diuretics like spironolactone also increases this risk. Serum potassium can also increase in case of inappropriate consumption of potassium-rich food (bananas). Since ambulatory care does not always rigorously control hyperkalemia in CKD patients we consider it is useful to screen patients when they are referred to dialysis services. The screening can reflect the management of ambulatory CKD patients under treatment with ACE-I and ARB hypotensors. We remark that beta-blockers are attributed a (limited) role in increasing the values of serum K.

Material and method:
We studied a group of 477 stage-5 CKD patients referred for dialysis to The Dialysis Centre of the Emergency County Hospital Timişoara. The average age of the patients was 57.41 +/- 14.26 years. 260 were males and 217 females. All were stage-5 CKD with GFR < 15 mL/min/1.73 m2, with a group average value of eGFR of 5.72 +/- 2.81 mL/min/1.73m2. Our investigations showed hypokalemia in 14 patients (2.93%). Hyperkalemia was found in 179 patients. Of these, 124 had mild hyperkalemia (5.5-6.4 mEq/L), 45 patients had medium hyperkalemia (6.5-7.5 mEq/L) and 10 (2.09%) had severe hyperkalemia (K > 7.5 mEq/L).

Hyperkalemia was more frequent in patients who had been treated with blockers of the renin-angiotensin system than in patients who had used other hypotensors or who had not needed hypotensors and had not taken diuretics. Severe hyperkalemia (K > 7.5 mEq/L) was present both in patients treated with blockers of the renin-angiotensin system and in those treated with other hypotensors and in 1 case without hypotensor or diuretic treatment. 2 cases treated with blockers of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system with severe hyperpotassemia associated antialdosteronic diuretics, cumulating hyperpotassemic effects. Diuretic treatments with loop diuretics influenced the values of serum K of most patients. Hyperkalemia represents an important problem in nephrology because of the risks it induces in the treatment ofpre-dialysis CKD patients and it requires attentive monitoring.

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