Brief Reports

Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 287-290

First online:

Outcomes of severe hyperkalemia in cardiopulmonary resuscitation with concomitant hemodialysis

  • J. -L. LinAffiliated withDivision of Nephrology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
  • , P. -S. LimAffiliated withDivision of Nephrology, Kuan Tien General Hospital
  • , M. -L. LeuAffiliated withDivision of Nephrology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
  • , C. -C. HuangAffiliated withDivision of Nephrology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital

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To investigate the efficacy of hemodialysis during cardiopulmonary resuscitation as an effective adjunct to the treatment of severe hyperkalemia.


A prospective study.


In hospital dialysis units and intensive care units.


Renal failure patients who developed hyperkalemia induced cardiac arrest and failed to recover from conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were included. Three patients entered into this study: 2 patients with chronic renal failure maintained on regular hemodialysis and one with acute renal failure who suffered from severe hyperkalemia.


All three patients developed asystolic cardiac arrest with unrecordable blood pressure due to severe hyperkalemia. Aggressive CPR together with intravenous epinephrine, sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride were instituted. External cardiac massage with cardiac defibrillation was unable to restore spontaneous heart action. After lack or response to intensive resuscitation, hemodialysis was performed concomitant with CPR to eliminate the potassium load.

Measurements and results

Sinus rhythm and blood pressure were restored in all 3 patients but one of them eventually succumbed to her underlying disease.


Hemodialysis during CPR is probably an effective adjunct to the treatment of severe hyperkalemia in patients with severe hemodynamic compromise and asystolic cardiac arrest.

Key words

Hemodialysis Hyperkalemia Cardiopulmonary resuscitation