Which tests are initially performed in suspected hypokalemia (low potassium)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

In most cases, the cause of hypokalemia is apparent from the history and physical examination. First-line studies include measurement of urine potassium, a serum magnesium assay, and an electrocardiogram (ECG). Measurement of urine potassium is of vital importance because it establishes the pathophysiologic mechanism and, thus, is used in formulating the differential diagnosis. This, in turn, will guide the choice of further tests.


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