What are the physical findings in hyperkalemia (high serum potassium level)?

Updated: Apr 09, 2020
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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In general, the results of the physical examination alone do not alert the physician to the diagnosis of hyperkalemia, except when severe bradycardia is present or muscle tenderness accompanies muscle weakness, suggesting rhabdomyolysis. Examination findings in patients with hyperkalemia include the following:

  • Vital signs usually normal, except occasionally in bradycardia due to heart block or tachypnea due to respiratory muscle weakness

  • Muscle weakness and flaccid paralysis

  • Depressed or absent deep tendon reflexes

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