When can excessive potassium intake alone cause hyperkalemia (high serum potassium level)?

Updated: Apr 09, 2020
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
  • Print

Excessive potassium intake alone is a very uncommon cause of hyperkalemia in anyone with an estimated GFR higher than 60 mL/min. The mechanisms for shifting potassium intracellularly and for renal excretion allow a person with normal potassium homeostatic mechanisms to ingest very high quantities of potassium. Even parenteral administration of as much as 60 mEq/hr for several hours creates only a minimal increase in serum potassium concentration in healthy individuals.

The most common source of increased potassium intake is intravenous (IV) or oral potassium supplementation. Packed red blood cells (PRBCs) may also carry high concentrations of potassium that can lead to hyperkalemia during PRBC transfusion. [14]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!