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Abnormally low level of potassium in the blood.

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Muscle weakness and attacks of paralysis are two important features of periodic paralyses. Paralytic attacks occur in acute episodes and can be incapacitating. Attacks may last from several hours to several days according to the type of muscle channel involved. In some cases permanent muscle weakness can also occur. We are unsure whether such permanent muscle weakness is more likely to develop if the frequency of attacks is high and therefore might be less likely to occur if attacks are fully prevented by treatment. Although the treatment of choice in periodic paralysis is generally considered to be acetazolamide, there is no standardised treatment regimen and no consensus as to when to start treatment. We do not know if acetazolamide treatment prevents any permanent weakness that may occur.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: January 23, 2008

In this review, we asked whether people resuscitated from cardiac arrest benefit when their bodies are cooled to a temperature of 34°C or lower.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 15, 2016

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body. The body tries to compensate by retaining water to increase blood volume, but this further weakens the heart. Diuretic drugs reduce water in the body. Loop diuretics work on the deep part of the small kidney tubes. They are commonly used in repeated doses intravenously for CHF, but this can cause rapid fluid shifts and adverse effects. The review of trials found that continuous infusion of loop diuretics for people with CHF is more effective and has fewer adverse effects than intermittent doses.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: July 20, 2005

Acute asthma is a common paediatric emergency prevalent in many countries. Treatment aims to reverse asthma by opening up the airways and targeting the underlying inflammation of the airways. Beta‐agonists, anticholinergic agents and glucocorticoids are currently the most commonly used strategies. In the past, aminophylline has been extensively used for the management of acute asthma, despite side effects. However, its use has declined with the availability of effective inhaled bronchodilators and glucocorticoids. The purpose of this review was to assess whether the use of intravenous aminophylline in children receiving maximised inhaled bronchodilators and glucocorticoids produced additional beneficial effects. We identified a small number of good quality trials which compared aminophylline with placebo in children given inhaled bronchodilators and glucocorticoid therapy. This review found evidence that children treated with aminophylline had a greater improvement in lung function than children treated with placebo, when both groups received inhaled bronchodilators and steroids and they responded incompletely to these initial therapies. However, aminophylline use also resulted in greater risk of vomiting. Aminophylline use in children may be appropriate if children have a role in severe acute exacerbations of asthma where response to maximised therapy (inhaled bronchodilators and glucocorticoids) is poor. These results are based on small numbers and further work in this area is required.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 20, 2005

Invasive fungal infections are a significant problem for children whose immune system is not functioning properly. The majority of the children have cancer. Antifungal medications can be given when these children develop a fever (for example a fever occurring when the white cells or neutrophils are low during chemotherapy) or when an infection has been formally identified (as in candidaemia, candidiasis and invasive aspergillosis). The antifungal agents that were compared appear equally efficacious. Pooling the data from the few studies that were available suggest kidney damage was less likely with a lipid preparation of amphotericin B compared with conventional amphotericin B. It is reasonable to recommend a lipid preparation of amphotericin B, if cost permits. No significant differences have been observed in children when other antifungal agents have been compared. More studies in children evaluating available antifungal are required to further clarify any benefits with regard to the risk of dying, prospects of complete recovery and drug toxicities.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 17, 2010

Preterm labour is when women go into labour before 37 weeks' gestation. Babies born before term (preterm birth) have poorer outcomes compared with babies who are born at term. The earlier the baby is born, the poorer the outcome. Most preterm births occur in low‐income countries where medical help is less readily available. Preterm birth is a major cause of infant deaths and serious illness worldwide. Preterm birth can result in respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung disease, bleeding into the fluid spaces (ventricles) within the brain (intraventricular haemorrhage)), generalised infection or infection of the blood stream (sepsis), cerebral palsy and other neuro‐developmental impairments. Even short delays in preterm birth can enable women to reach specialist care and receive 'corticosteroid' drugs that are given to women before birth to improve their babies' lung function.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 5, 2014

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Advanced non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 60% of all lung cancer cases. Since the effectiveness of current standard treatment for advanced NSCLC (i.e. chemotherapy) has reached a ceiling, there is a continuous need for new, more effective treatments to further improve the outcome of patients with the disease. This review of 2018 patients, from four trials, found that adding cetuximab (a newly developed agent) to standard treatment, prolonged the survival time of advanced NSCLC patients by about 1.5 months, and deferred the progression of cancer by about 0.5 month. One year after the treatment, 45% of the patients receiving standard treatment plus cetuximab, and 40% of the patients receiving standard treatment alone were still alive. However, the effects of cetuximab on quality of life of patients were uncertain. Seven types of adverse events, mainly involving skin and blood, occurred much more in the patients receiving cetuximab, while other adverse events seemed to occur equally in both groups. The adverse events were reported as generally manageable. No deaths related to cetuximab were reported. In summary, high quality evidence shows that the use of cetuximab combined with standard treatment leads to better survival than standard treatment alone, in improving survival of patients with advanced NSCLC.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: November 17, 2014

Background: Children who are born with heart defects often undergo heart surgery at a young age. They are at risk for reduced heart function and death after surgery. Milrinone is a medication that may be used in this situation to make the heart stronger and make it easier for the heart to pump blood into the body.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: March 25, 2015

Acute diarrhoea is a common cause of death and illness in developing countries. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) have had a massive impact worldwide in reducing the number of deaths related to diarrhoea.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: December 13, 2016

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