Cummings BM, Macklin EA, Yager PH, Sharma A, Noviski N. Potassium abnormalities in a pediatric intensive care unit: frequency and severity. J Intensive Care Med. 2014 Sep;29(5):269-74.
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BACKGROUND: Potassium abnormalities are common in critically ill patients. We describe the spectrum of potassium abnormalities in our tertiary-level pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
METHODS: Retrospective observational cohort of all the patients admitted to a single-center tertiary PICU over a 1-year period. Medical records and laboratory results were obtained through a central electronic data repository.
RESULTS: A total of 512 patients had a potassium measurement. Of a total of 4484 potassium measurements, one-third had abnormal values. Hypokalemia affected 40% of the admissions. Mild hypokalemia (3-3.4 mmol/L) affected 24% of the admissions. Moderate or severe hypokalemia (K < 3.0 mmol/L) affected 16% of the admissions. Hyperkalemia affected 29% of the admissions. Mild hyperkalemia (5.1-6.0 mmol/L) affected 17% of the admissions. Moderate or severe hyperkalemia (>6.0 mmol/L) affected 12%. Hemolysis affected 2% of all the samples and 24% of hyperkalemic values. On univariate analysis, severity of hypokalemia was associated with mortality (odds ratio 2.2, P = .003).
CONCLUSIONS: Mild potassium abnormalities are common in the PICU. Repeating hemolyzed hyperkalemic samples may be beneficial. Guidance in monitoring frequencies of potassium abnormalities in pediatric critical care is needed.
J Pediatr. 2013 Jul;163(1):207-212.e1. PMID: 23410602
OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether the development of hypokalemia in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) treated in the pediatric critical care unit (PCCU) could be caused by increased potassium (K(+)) excretion and its association with insulin treatment.
STUDY DESIGN: In this prospective observational study of patients with DKA admitted to the PCCU, blood and timed urine samples were collected for measurement of sodium (Na(+)), K(+), and creatinine concentrations and for calculations of Na(+) and K(+) balances. K(+) excretion rate was expressed as urine K(+)-to-creatinine ratio and fractional excretion of K(+).
RESULTS: Of 31 patients, 25 (81%) developed hypokalemia (plasma K(+) concentration <3.5 mmol/L) in the PCCU at a median time of 24 hours after therapy began. At nadir plasma K(+) concentration, urine K(+)-to-creatinine ratio and fractional excretion of K(+) were greater in patients who developed hypokalemia compared with those without hypokalemia (19.8 vs 6.7, P = .04; and 31.3% vs 9.4%, P = .004, respectively). Patients in the hypokalemia group received a continuous infusion of intravenous insulin for a longer time (36.5 vs 20 hours, P = .015) and greater amount of Na(+) (19.4 vs 12.8 mmol/kg, P = .02). At peak kaliuresis, insulin dose was higher in the hypokalemia group (median 0.07, range 0-0.24 vs median 0.025, range 0-0.05 IU/kg; P = .01), and there was a significant correlation between K(+) and Na(+) excretion (r = 0.67, P < .0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Hypokalemia was a delayed complication of DKA treatment in the PCCU, associated with high K(+) and Na(+) excretion rates and a prolonged infusion of high doses of insulin.
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