What is the pathogenesis of hypokalemia (low potassium level) caused by vomiting?

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

Gastrointestinal losses, from diarrhea, vomiting, or nasogastric suctioning, also are common causes of hypokalemia. Vomiting leads to hypokalemia via a complex pathogenesis. Gastric fluid itself contains little potassium, approximately 10 mEq/L. However, vomiting produces volume depletion and metabolic alkalosis, which are accompanied by increased renal potassium excretion.


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