Patients with Hyperkalemia at Risk for Atrial Fibrillation

Researchers  in Pakistan, led by Asfia Jabbar, MD, conducted a prospective cross-sectional observational study designed to examine the variety and frequency of cardiovascular events among patients with varying stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) who were hospitalized for other causes. Results of the study were reported online in Cureus [doi:10.7759/cureus.18801].

The study was conducted at the Department of Nephrology in the Kidney Centre Post Graduate Training Institute, Karachi, and included all adult patients with CKD, nondialysis or dialysis, who experienced cardiovascular events during hospital admission, either in a ward or the intensive care unit, due to any cause between August 2020 and February 2021.

The study included 290 patients; of the total cohort, 53.1% (n=154) were men, 46.9% (n=136) were women, and mean age was 57 years. Forty-one percent (n=119) had end-stage kidney disease and were receiving maintenance hemodialysis. Hypertension was the most prevalent comorbid condition (n=227; 78.3%), followed by diabetes mellitus (n=204; 70.4%).

The most frequent cardiovascular events in the study cohort were atrial fibrillation (n=101; 34.8%) and ST-elevated myocardial infarction and supraventricular tachycardia (n=37; 12.8%). Patients with elevated levels of potassium (>5.2) most frequently experienced atrial fibrillation (n=16; 28.1%), compared with other cardiovascular events.

In conclusion, the authors said, “Patients with CKD are at increased risk of having several cardiovascular events. Numerous risk factors [are] involved in the pathogenesis . Among the diverse causes, fluctuations in serum levels of various electrolytes are important causes as certain electrolytes disbalance can trigger various life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.”