What is the role of potassium in the pathophysiology of pediatric dehydration?

Updated: Nov 12, 2018
  • Author: Alex Koyfman, MD; Chief Editor: Muhammad Waseem, MBBS, MS, FAAP, FACEP, FAHA  more...
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Answer

Potassium shifts between intracellular and extracellular fluid compartments occur more slowly than free water shifts. Serum potassium levels may not reflect intracellular potassium levels. Although a potassium deficit is present in all patients with volume depletion, it is not usually clinically significant. However, failure to correct for a potassium deficit during volume replacement may result in clinically significant hypokalemia. Potassium should not be added to replacement fluids until adequate urine output is obtained.


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