Which clinical situations suggest a shift of potassium from the intracellular to the extracellular space?

Updated: Apr 09, 2020
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Clinical situations in which this mechanism is the major cause of hyperkalemia include the following:

  • Hyperosmolality
  • Tissue breakdown (eg, rhabdomyolysis, tumor lysis syndrome, or massive hemolysis)
  • Propofol (“propofol infusion syndrome”) [23]
  • Toxins (digitalis intoxication or fluoride intoxication)
  • Succinylcholine (depolarizes the cell membrane and thus permits potassium to leave the cells [24, 25, 26] )
  • Beta-adrenergic blockade
  • Strenuous or prolonged exercise
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis

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