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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2002 May-Jun;4(3):198-206.

Importance of potassium in cardiovascular disease.

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1
Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension, Division of Nephrology, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. dsica@hsc.vcu.edu

Abstract

The pivotal role of potassium (K+) in cardiovascular disease and the importance of preserving potassium balance have become clinical hot points, particularly as relates to new and emerging cardioprotective and renoprotective therapies that promote potassium retention. Although clinicians may be aware of the critical nature of this relationship, quite frequently there is some uncertainty as to the best way to monitor potassium levels in the face of a host of pathologic states and/or accompanying drug therapies that affect serum levels and/or total body potassium balance. Moreover, guidelines for monitoring of serum potassium levels are at best tentative and oftentimes are translated according to the level of concern of the respective physician. To address these uncertainties, an expert group was convened that included representatives from multiple disciplines. They attempted to reach consensus on the importance of K+ in hypertension, stroke, and arrhythmias as well as practical issues on maintaining K+ balance and avoiding K+ depletion. Because of the complexity of this topic, issues of hyperkalemia will be addressed in a forthcoming manuscript.

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