What tests should be performed to determine the cause of hyperkalemia (high serum potassium level)?

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

Further workup should be initiated to determine the inciting cause and to prevent future episodes. Such a workup should include evaluation of sources of potassium intake, causes for decreased renal excretion, and causes for decreased cell uptake of potassium. In most cases, all 3 of those etiologic factors contribute to hyperkalemia. It is particularly important to reevaluate the use of potassium supplements (including salt substitutes) in patients with renal insufficiency or in patients taking medications that impair renal excretion of potassium.


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