What is the relationship between the serum potassium level and symptoms 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

The relationship between the serum potassium level and symptoms of hyperkalemia is not consistent. For example, patients with a chronically elevated potassium level may be asymptomatic at much higher levels than other patients are. The rapidity of change in the potassium level influences the symptoms observed at various potassium levels.

In pediatric patients, capillary blood gas sampling should not routinely be used to evaluate for hyperkalemia, because of the significant risks of factitious hyperkalemia.


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