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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 255-259

Errors in potassium measurement: A laboratory perspective for the clinician


1 Department of Pathology, Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine, New York, USA
2 Saint Peter's University Hospital/Drexel University School of Medicine, New Brunswick, USA

Correspondence Address:
Jaya R Asirvatham
6 Ohio Drive, Ste 202, Lake Success 11040, New York
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.110426

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Errors in potassium measurement can cause pseudohyperkalemia, where serum potassium is falsely elevated. Usually, these are recognized either by the laboratory or the clinician. However, the same factors that cause pseudohyperkalemia can mask hypokalemia by pushing measured values into the reference interval. These cases require a high-index of suspicion by the clinician as they cannot be easily identified in the laboratory. This article discusses the causes and mechanisms of spuriously elevated potassium, and current recommendations to minimize those factors. "Reverse" pseudohyperkalemia and the role of correction factors are also discussed. Relevant articles were identified by a literature search performed on PubMed using the terms "pseudohyperkalemia," "reverse pseudohyperkalemia," "factitious hyperkalemia," "spurious hyperkalemia," and "masked hypokalemia."


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