Canadian Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 553–557 | Cite as

Absence of adverse outcomes in hyperkalemic patients undergoing vascular access surgery

  • Ronald P. OlsonEmail author
  • Adam J. Schow
  • Richard McCann
  • David A. Lubarsky
  • Tong J. Gan
General Anesthesia



The decision to cancel vascular access surgery because of hyperkalemia requires knowledge of the risks vs benefits. This study sought to identify and characterize cases where surgery had been performed in patients with uncorrected hyperkalemia.


One thousand four hundred and seventy-two consecutive cases of vascular access surgery at an academic medical centre between 1995 and 2000 by a single surgeon were analyzed retro-spectively.


Eight cases had clear documentation that the case proceeded with hyperkalemia. Anesthesia techniques were one general anesthetic, one regional block, five monitored anesthesia care (MAC), and one local infiltration only. Mean potassium was 6.9 mmol·L−1 (range 6.1–8.0). In this series of selected asymptomatic hyperkalemic patients undergoing low risk surgery, no adverse results occurred.


While this review of eight cases (only one receiving general anesthesia) cannot be used to prove the safety of proceeding to surgery with uncorrected hyperkalemia, it does suggest that asymptomatic hyperkalemia may not be an absolute contraindication to vascular access surgery.


Succinylcholine National Kidney Foundation Monitor Anesthesia Care Monitor Anesthesia Care Intervention Chirurgicale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Absence de complications chez des patients hyperkaliémiques devant subir une intervention chirurgicale d’accès vasculaire



La décision d’annuler une opération d’accès vasculaire à cause de l’hyperkaliémie exige de connaître les risques et les avantages. La présente étude visait à identifier et à caractériser les cas où l’opération a été réalisée chez des patients présentant une hyperkaliémie non corrigée.


Nous avons fait l’analyse rétrospective des opérations d’accès vasculaires réalisées chez 1 472 patients consécutifs au centre médical universitaire entre 1995 et 2000 par le même chirurgien.


Dans huit cas, les données indiquaient clairement que l’opération avait eu lieu malgré l’hyperkaliémie. Les techniques anesthésiques étaient une anesthésie générale, une anesthésie régionale, cinq cas de surveillance anesthésique (SA) et une infiltration locale seulement. La moyenne du potassium était de 6,9 mmol·L−1 (intervalle de 6,1–8,0). Dans cette série de patients hyperkaliémiques asymptomatiques choisis, devant subir une intervention à faible risque, aucune complication n’est survenue.


Même si cette revue de huit cas, dont un seul cas d’anesthésie générale, ne prouve pas la sécurité d’une intervention chirurgicale en présence d’hyperkaliémie non corrigée, elle suggère que l’hyperkaliémie asymptomatique ne serait pas une contre-indication absolue à une opération à accès vasculaire.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald P. Olson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam J. Schow
    • 1
  • Richard McCann
    • 1
  • David A. Lubarsky
    • 1
  • Tong J. Gan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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