What is the global prevalence of hyperkalemia (high serum potassium level)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Hyperkalemia has been reported in less than 5% of the general population worldwide. Hospitalized patients in countries as diverse as England, Australia, and Israel experience hyperkalemia approximately 10% of the time. No racial differences in the incidence of hyperkalemia appear to exist.

As in the United States, risk factors include advanced age, significant prematurity, and the presence of renal failure, diabetes mellitus, and heart failure. Additionally, one series documented an increased incidence of hyperkalemia with cancer and GI disease. [51] Polypharmacy, particularly the use of potassium supplements and potassium-sparing diuretics, in patients with underlying renal insufficiency contributed to hyperkalemia in almost 50% of the cases.


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