Pathophysiology of hyperkalemia

The effects of hyperkalemia are seen primarily at the membranes of excitable tissues. Signs and symptoms may be absent; treatment depends upon suspicion and regular monitoring of potassium levels. This is particularly important in conditions where potassium may be released in large quantities in association with developing renal dysfunction, for example rhabdomyolysis, tumor lysis syndrome, reperfusion of ischemic tissue, severe burns, succinylcholine (suxamethonium), etc. Rapid metabolic changes in such circumstances may produce lethal hyperkalemia in a short period of time.

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