Podcast 717: A cautionary tale of renal failure - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 717: A cautionary tale of renal failure

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Hyperkalemia can cause EKG changes such as a widened QRS
  • The fastest electrolyte results can be obtained off a VBG with electrolytes¬† or point-of-care labs
  • Hyperkalemia may be reported as “hemolyzed” which indicated lysis of red blood cells and artificial elevation of the potassium level. However, always keep in mind the clinical context and look at other metabolic abnormalities like creatinine and BUN for other clues that it may actually not be hemolyzed


Co I, Gunnerson K. Emergency Department Management of Acute Kidney Injury, Electrolyte Abnormalities, and Renal Replacement Therapy in the Critically Ill. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2019;37(3):459-471. doi:10.1016/j.emc.2019.04.006

Simon LV, Hashmi MF, Farrell MW. Hyperkalemia. [Updated 2021 Aug 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470284/

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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