UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: treatment of hyperkalemia Part I

Keywords: hyperkalemia, treatment, management (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/30/2008 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 8/17/2022)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Sodium bicarbonate A recent review of the literature revealed to me something which I never knew about treatment of hyperkalemia: sodium bicarbonate doesn't work the way we thought. In fact, there's no good evidence indicating that it actually produces a substantial shift of plasma K concentration. Our original teaching was based on prolonged (4-6 hour) infusions of bicarbonate, but short-term infusions do not seem to work. Insulin, on the other hand, is effective and works within 20 minutes. [Weisberg LS. Management of severe hyperkalemia. Crit Care Med 2008;36:3246-3251.]