Hyperkalemia is common in patients with end-stage renal disease, and may result in serious electrocardiographic abnormalities. Dialysis is the definitive treatment of hyperkalemia in these patients. Intravenous calcium is used to stabilize the myocardium. Intravenous insulin and nebulized albuterol lower serum potassium acutely, by shifting it into the cells. Despite their widespread use, neither intravenous bicarbonate nor cation exchange resins are effective in lowering serum potassium acutely. Prevention of hyperkalemia currently rests largely upon dietary compliance and avoidance of medications that may promote hyperkalemia. Prolonged fasting may provoke hyperkalemia, which can be prevented by administration of intravenous dextrose.
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