What are cardiovascular complications of hypokalemia (low potassium level)?

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

Hypokalemia has widespread actions in many organ systems that, over time, may result in cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular complications are clinically the most important harbingers of significant morbidity or mortality from hypokalemia.

Although hypokalemia has been implicated in the development of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, ventricular arrhythmias have received the most attention. Even moderate hypokalemia may inhibit the sodium-potassium pump in myocardial cells, promoting spontaneous early afterdepolarizations that lead to ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation. [13]


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