Potassium - low; Low blood potassium
Eating a diet rich in potassium can help prevent hypokalemia. Foods high in potassium include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Lima beans
- Peanut butter
- Peas and beans
- Be attentive to the ABCs.
- If the patient is severely bradycardic or manifesting cardiac arrhythmias, appropriate pharmacologic therapy or cardiac pacing should be considered.
Emergency Department Care
- Patients in whom severe hypokalemia is suspected should be placed on a cardiac monitor; establish intravenous access and assess respiratory status.
- Direct potassium replacement therapy by the symptomatology and the potassium level. Begin therapy after laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis.
- Patients who have mild or moderate hypokalemia (potassium level of 2.5-3.5 mEq/L) are usually asymptomatic; if these patients have only minor symptoms, they may need only oral potassium replacement therapy. Patients with mild hypokalemia whose underlying cause of hypokalemia can be corrected may not need any potassium replacement, such as those with vomiting successfully treated with antiemetics. If cardiac arrhythmias or significant symptoms are present, then more aggressive therapy is warranted. This treatment is similar to the treatment of severe hypokalemia.
- If the potassium level is less than 2.5 mEq/L, intravenous potassium should be given. Admission or ED observation is indicated; replacement therapy takes more than a few hours.
- The serum potassium level is difficult to replenish if the serum magnesium level is also low. Look to replace both.
An internist or a nephrologist should be consulted for admission or follow-up care.
Consider psychiatric consultation in laxative abuse, anorexia, or bulimia cases.
Source : emedicine.medscape.com