What is the role of ECG monitoring in the treatment of severe 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

Electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring is imperative for severe hypokalemia (< 2 mEq/L in otherwise healthy individuals or < 3 mEq/L in patients with known or suspected cardiac disease). With a sudden shift of potassium into the cells (eg, with insulin therapy for diabetic ketoacidosis), even individuals with healthy hearts can develop lethal arrhythmias. Continuously monitor patients on digoxin or those with digoxin toxicity.


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