Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Hypokalemia

Synonym(s): Low potassium

Contributor(s): Lesa Thompson, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Cause: decreased potassium intake, redistribution across cellular membranes (between ICF and ECF), increased loss (eg gastrointestinal, urinary, cutaneous from burns), stress or artefact.
  • Signs: cardiac arrhythmias, generalized muscle weakness.
  • Diagnosis: blood analysis.
  • Treatment: avoid stressing patient, nutritional support, IV potassium supplementation in severe cases.
  • Prognosis: good if treated before cardiac pathology develops.

Presenting signs

  • If associated with low potassium diet, poor growth and rapid weight loss are seen in early stages; later muscular weakness.
  • Potassium depletion may result acutely in metabolic alkalosis.
  • Sudden death without prior signs in some cases.

Cost considerations

  • Repeated blood sampling required to monitor progression.
  • Hospitalization required for some treatment regimes.

Special risks, eg anesthetic

  • Avoid stressing rabbits with known or suspected hypokalemia, as catecholamine release will further lower blood potassium levels.
  • Avoid anesthesia due to increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Zhong J H, Lu S J, Chen M S, Chen S B, Wang L & Wu P S (2013)Effects of hypokalemia on transmural dispersion of ventricular repolarization in left ventricular myocardium. Asian Pac J Trop Med6(6), 485-488PubMed.
  • Osadchii O E (2010)Mechanisms of hypokalemia-induced ventricular arrhythmogenicity. Fund Clin Pharmacol24, 547-559PubMed.
  • Reiter M J, Mann D E & Williams G R (1993)Interaction of hypokalemia and ventricular dilatation in isolated rabbit hearts. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol265(5), H1544-H1550PubMed.
  • Hove E L & Herndon J F (1955)Potassium deficiency in the rabbit as a cause of muscular dystrophy three figures.  J Nutr55(3), 363-374.

Other sources of information

  • Özkan C, Kaya A & Akgül Y (2012)Normal values of haematological and some biochemical parameters in serum and urine of New Zealand White rabbits. World Rabbit Sci20(4), DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/wrs.2012.1229


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