Michael Allon, MD; Robert Dunlay, MD; Charles Copkney, RN, BSN
Study Objective: To determine the efficacy and safety of nebulized albuterol in the acute treatment of hyperkalemia in patients on chronic hemodialysis.
Design: Prospective, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study.
Setting: Outpatient hemodialysis clinic at a university medical center.
Patients: Ten patients on maintenance hemodialysis who had chronic hyperkalemia.
Interventions: Patients received nebulized albuterol therapy (10 mg or 20 mg) or placebo (saline) on three separate occasions; serial measurements of plasma potassium levels, blood pressure, and pulse were then taken for a 2-hour period.
Measurements and Main Results: Patients had a significant decrease in plasma potassium concentrations that was evident by 30 minutes and sustained for at least 2 hours after albuterol treatment. After the administration of 10- and 20mg doses of albuterol, the maximal decrease in the plasma potassium levels was 0.62 ±0.09 and 0.98 ±0.14 mmol/L (SE), respectively. Nebulized saline administration did not produce a significant change in the plasma potassium concentrations. Patients did not develop symptoms or significant changes in blood pressure or heart rate with albuterol treatment.
Conclusions: In the doses used, nebulized albuterol therapy resulted in a prompt and significant decrease in the plasma potassium concentrations in patients on hemodialysis, and caused no adverse cardiovascular effects. This treatment should be considered as an important adjunct for acute treatment of serious hyperkalemia in this population of patients.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Allon M, Dunlay R, Copkney C. Nebulized Albuterol for Acute Hyperkalemia in Patients on Hemodialysis. Ann Intern Med. 1989;110:426-429. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-110-6-426
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1989;110(6):426-429.
Endocrine and Metabolism, Fluid and Electrolyte Disorders, Nephrology, Renal Replacement Therapy.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only