What causes a shift of potassium to the intracellular space?

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

Shift of potassium into the intracellular space may occur due to the following:

  • Recurrent episodes of paralysis
  • Use of high doses of insulin
  • High-dose beta-agonist therapy (eg, for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Ask whether the patient has had similar episodes in the past. Familial historical data may include surgery for pituitary or adrenal tumors or acute intermittent episodes of paralysis, with or without association with hyperthyroidism.


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