Sunday, 14 October 2012

Potassium Chloride to treat hypokalemia

Potassium chloride is a mineral that necessary for proper muscle and cardiac function as well as maintaining the proper fluid balance and pH of the body’s cell. Potassium chloride is one of the medications that have been used to prevent or treat hypokalemia. Hypokalemia happen when a person have abnormally low level of potassium in the circulating blood leading to weakness and heart abnormalities, associated with adrenal tumors, starvation or taking diuretics.

The phenomena of low level of potassium can happen as a result of a disease or from taking certain medicines or after a prolonged illness with diarrhea or vomiting. But, because the regular potassium by itself (not in potassium chloride form) is highly reactive, so a person who has a shortage of calcium will be given potassium chloride instead of potassium itself only. High reactivity of potassium may explode when it comes contact with water. So, they must take in some kind of mixture which chemically bonded to another substances but at the same time have possibility for the body to safely break it down.

Potassium chloride can be given orally if the patient has not too serious situations. But, in the serious situations of potassium shortage, intravenous injection (IV) is more preferred. Even the potassium chloride can be given by injection, but it cannot be administered via IV push/bolus that is via intramuscular injection (IM) or subcutaneous injection (s.q.). This is because by using those routes, it may result to the patients for having or receiving too much potassium too quickly. So, it must be diluted and infused over certain period of time.

 There are a lot of effects when the patient has received too much potassium chloride. One is that the patient can go into cardiac arrest and die. In fact, the death by lethal injection is causes when the patient having a super-high dose potassium chloride, it may stops the heart beating. Besides that serious side effects of potassium include uneven heartbeat, muscle weakness or limp feeling, severe stomach pain and numbness or tingling in hands, feet or mouth. That is why potassium chloride cannot be given via intramuscular injection (IM).

To avoid potassium intoxication, do not infuse these solutions rapidly. It must be diluted first before it was given to the patients. The administration of intravenous solutions can cause fluid and/or solute overload resulting in dilution of serum electrolyte concentrations, overhydration, congested states or pulmonary edema. In patients with renal insufficiency, administration of potassium chloride may cause potassium intoxication and life-threatening hyperkalemia.

References :
1. (n.d.) Untitled Document. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Sep 2012].
2. (1996) Potassium Chloride Information from [online] Available at: [Accessed: 16 Sep 2012].
3. (2011) Potassium chloride (KCL) -  Intravenous (IV) Dilution. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 17 Sep 2012].

3 cakap-cakap tentang coretan ini:

Ares Skywalker said...

That is a salt! :P

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