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BMJ Case Rep. 2012 Jan 10;2012. pii: bcr1220115330. doi: 10.1136/bcr.12.2011.5330.

Pseudohyperkalemia without reported haemolysis in a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. James.Chan@osumc.edu


Hyperkalemia is a medical condition that requires immediate recognition and treatment to prevent the development of life-threatening arrhythmias. Pseudohyperkalemia is most commonly due to specimen haemolysis and is often recognised by laboratory scientists who subsequently report test results with cautionary warnings. The authors present a case of pseudohyperkalemia in a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia that was the result of white blood cell lysis during phlebotomy. False elevations of potassium from this condition may not be reported with a warning from the laboratory. This places the patient at risk of unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatments. This phenomenon has not been published in the emergency medicine literature to date.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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