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Ann Card Anaesth. 2019 Apr-Jun;22(2):162-168. doi: 10.4103/aca.ACA_65_18.

Hyperkalemia in ambulant postcardiac surgery patients during combined therapy with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, spironolactone, and diet rich in potassium: A report of two cases and review of literature.

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Department of Anaesthesiology, SGPGIMS, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Department of Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery, SGPGIMS, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.



Potassium is the most abundant cation in intracellular compartment. A deficiency or excess of its serum concentration can be deleterious to the one suffering from a cardiac ailment. Post cardiac surgery patients are often on multiple drugs like angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), diuretics including potassium sparing diuretics which are known to predispose for hyperkalemia. We report two postoperative cases who developed life threatening hyperkalemia despite normal renal function due to a combination of factors like treatment with ACEI, potassium sparing diuretics, high dietary intake of potassium and we also discuss renal handling of potassium in this review of literature.


We present a case series of two cases of cardiac surgery, who presented in the emergency department with hyperkalemia, managed conservatively and detailed history revealed that patient were also on very high nutritional potassium.


Both the patients responded to conservative management and there was no recurrence of such episodes once the dose of diuretics was adjusted and diet modification advised.


In India, many patients are from a low socioeconomic background and often resort to cheap and filling food items like bananas. This dietary factor should be kept in mind while prescribing patients with these medications and adequate counseling regarding diet should be done.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; dietary potassium; hyperkalemia; potassium homeostasis; potassium-sparing diuretics

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