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Circ Heart Fail. 2010 Mar;3(2):253-60. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.109.899526. Epub 2010 Jan 26.

Hypokalemia and outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure and chronic kidney disease: findings from propensity-matched studies.

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  • 1Section of Geriatrics, VA Medical Center, Birmingham, Ala, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about the effects of hypokalemia on outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure (HF) and chronic kidney disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Of the 7788 patients with chronic HF in the Digitalis Investigation Group trial, 2793 had chronic kidney disease, defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2). Of these, 527 had hypokalemia (serum potassium <4 mEq/L; mild) and 2266 had normokalemia (4 to 4.9 mEq/L). Propensity scores for hypokalemia were used to assemble a balanced cohort of 522 pairs of patients with hypokalemia and normokalemia. All-cause mortality occurred in 48% and 36% of patients with hypokalemia and normokalemia, respectively, during 57 months of follow-up (matched hazard ratio when hypokalemia was compared with normokalemia, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.25 to 1.95; P<0.0001). Matched hazard ratios (95% CIs) for cardiovascular and HF mortalities and all-cause, cardiovascular, and HF hospitalizations were 1.65 (1.29 to 2.11; P<0.0001), 1.82 (1.28 to 2.57; P<0.0001), 1.16 (1.00 to 1.35; P=0.036), 1.27 (1.08 to 1.50; P=0.004), and 1.29 (1.05 to 1.58; P=0.014), respectively. Among 453 pairs of balanced patients with HF and chronic kidney disease, all-cause mortality occurred in 47% and 38% of patients with mild hypokalemia (3.5 to 3.9 mEq/L) and normokalemia, respectively (matched hazard ratio, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.66; P=0.027). Among 169 pairs of balanced patients with estimated glomerular filtration rate <45 mL/min per 1.73 m(2), all-cause mortality occurred in 57% and 47% of patients with hypokalemia (<4 mEq/L; mild) and normokalemia, respectively (matched hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07 to 2.19; P=0.020).

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with HF and chronic kidney disease, hypokalemia (serum potassium <4 mEq/L) is common and associated with increased mortality and hospitalization.

PMID:
20103777
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2909749
Free PMC Article
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