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Postresuscitation Hypokalemia in a Patient with a Normal Prearrest Serum Potassium Level

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to David M. Salerno, M.D.; Hennepin County Medical Center, 701 Park Avenue South; Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ann Intern Med. 1988;108(6):836-837. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-108-6-836
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In two separate clinical studies, patients resuscitated from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest had a nearly 50% incidence of hypokalemia when serum potassium was measured in the emergency room immediately after resuscitation (1, 2). Although many of these patients had been taking diuretics, a clear association between diuretic therapy and postresuscitation hypokalemia was not found. Nonetheless, these observations suggested that hypokalemia is a common precipitating factor in cardiac arrest. Data have shown that hypokalemia can precipitate ventricular arrhythmias, although this point is still argued (3, 4). In one of these clinical studies, rapid resolution of postresuscitation hypokalemia occurred, even though patients received


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