Acute Management of Hyperkalemia

  • Mengyang LiuEmail author
  • Zubaid Rafique
Emergency Medicine (F Peacock, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Emergency Medicine


Purpose of the Review

Hyperkalemia is a common electrolyte abnormality that can lead to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. Medical management of acute hyperkalemia revolves around three strategies—stabilizing the myocardium, intracellular shifting of serum potassium, and enhancing elimination of total body potassium via urinary or fecal excretion. In this review, we outline the current evidence behind the acute medical management of hyperkalemia.

Recent Findings

Two new oral potassium-binding agents, patiromer and sodium zirconium cyclosilicate, show promise in the management of hyperkalemia. Their role in the acute setting needs further investigation. Recent investigations also suggest that the optimal dosing of intravenous insulin may be lower than previously described.


Despite its prevalence, there is wide variability in the medical management of hyperkalemia in the acute setting. High-quality evidence demonstrating efficacy is lacking for many medications, though novel oral potassium-binding agents show promise. Overall, more research is necessary to establish optimal dosing strategies to manage hyperkalemia in the acute setting.


Hyperkalemia Potassium Acute management Oral binder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Mengyang Liu declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Zubaid Rafique is a principal investigator and consultant for AstraZeneca and Vifor Pharma.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ben Taub General Hospital, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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