Hyperkalemia is a frequently detected electrolyte abnormality that can cause life-threatening complications. Hyperkalemia is most often the result of intrinsic (decreased glomerular filtration rate; selective reduction in distal tubule secretory function; impaired mineralocorticoid activity; and metabolic disturbances, such as acidemia and hyperglycemia) and extrinsic factors (e.g., drugs, such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors, and potassium intake). The frequent use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors in patients who are already susceptible to hyperkalemia (e.g., patients with chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, or congestive heart failure) contributes to the high incidence of hyperkalemia. There is a need to understand the causes of hyperkalemia and to be aware of strategies addressing the disorder in a way that provides the most optimal outcome for affected patients. The recent development of 2 new oral potassium-binding agents has led to the emergence of a new paradigm in the treatment of hyperkalemia.
- chronic kidney disease
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