Community-acquired hypokalemia in elderly patients: related factors and clinical outcomes
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Electrolyte imbalance is a common problem affecting the elderly. Increased number of comorbidities and frequent use of drugs may contribute to increased risk of hypokalemia in the elderly. This study was performed to investigate the prevalence of community-acquired hypokalemia (CAH), risk factors for its development, related factors with hypokalemia, and morbidities and all-cause mortality rates (MR) of CAH in the elderly patients.
Total of 36,361 patients aged above 65 years were screened retrospectively. Group 1 consisted of 269 elderly patients with potassium level ≤3.5 mmol/L, and group 2 (control group) consisted of 182 subjects with potassium level between 3.6 and 5.5 mmol/L. Etiologic factors of CAH, presence of comorbidities, duration of hospital stay, hospital cost, and clinical outcomes were recorded.
Prevalence of hypokalemia was found 3.24% in patients aged above 65 years. Duration of hospital stay, presence of ≥2 comorbid diseases, hospital cost, and MR were significantly higher in group 1 compared to group 2 (p < 0.001 for all). Loop diuretics, hydrochlorothiazides, beta agonists, inadequate oral intake, and female gender were all independent risk factors for CAH in elderly patients. Patients with ≥2 comorbid diseases were found to have greater risk of hypokalemia than the patients with <2 comorbidities.
Length of hospital stay, hospital cost, and MR were higher in elderly with CAH. Female gender, hydrochlorothiazides, loop diuretics, and ≥2 comorbid diseases are the leading risk factors associated with CAH in elderly.
KeywordsHypokalemia Elderly Hospital cost Prevalence Gender
This study was accepted as free communication at the 53rd ERA-EDTA Congress, 2016.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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