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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2014 Nov;10(11):653-62. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2014.168. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

Management of hyperkalaemia in chronic kidney disease.

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University of Tennessee Health Science Center, University of Tennessee, 956 Court Avenue, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Hyperkalaemia is common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), in part because of the effects of kidney dysfunction on potassium homeostasis and in part because of the cluster of comorbidities (and their associated treatments) that occur in patients with CKD. Owing to its electrophysiological effects, severe hyperkalaemia represents a medical emergency that usually requires prompt intervention, whereas the prevention of hazardous hyperkalaemic episodes in at-risk patients requires measures aimed at the long-term normalization of potassium homeostasis. The options for effective and safe medical interventions to restore chronic potassium balance are few, and long-term management of hyperkalaemia is primarily limited to the correction of modifiable exacerbating factors. This situation can result in a difficult trade-off in patients with CKD, because drugs that are beneficial to these patients (for example, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system antagonists) are often the most prominent cause of their hyperkalaemia. Maintaining the use of these beneficial medications while implementing various strategies to control potassium balance is desirable; however, discontinuation rates remain high. The emergence of new medications that specifically target hyperkalaemia could lead to a therapeutic paradigm shift, emphasizing preventive management over ad hoc treatment of incidentally discovered elevations in serum potassium levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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