Which factors can shift potassium into the extracellular space?

Updated: Apr 09, 2020
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Like increased intake, this is rarely the sole cause of hyperkalemia, because the mechanisms for renal excretion are very efficient. However, the inability to transport potassium intracellularly exacerbates hyperkalemia in individuals who have impaired renal excretion.

Factors that can shift potassium into the extracellular space include the following:

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Beta-adrenergic blockade [32, 33]
  • Acute tubular necrosis
  • Electrical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Cell depolarization
  • Head trauma
  • Digitalis toxicity
  • Fluoride toxicity [34]
  • Cyclosporine [35]
  • Methotrexate [36]
  • Propofol infusion syndrome
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Tumor lysis syndrome
  • Succinylcholine [25]

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