Hypokalemia, Potassium Supplements, and Potassium-Sparing Agents

  • George T. Griffing
  • James C. Melby


Hypokalemia (plasma potassium <3.5 mEq/L) is an important medical finding that is frequently encountered in clinical practice. Even though a low plasma potassium usually reflects a total body potassium deficit, this is difficult to predict precisely since 98% of total body potassium is intracellular (3000 mEq) and only 2% is extracellular (65 mEq). The total body deficit can be roughly calculated from the fall in plasma potassium. As a general rule, a fall in plasma potassium of 1 mEq/L reflects a 10–20% total body deficit (300–600 mEq), but there can be considerable variation depending on body composition, muscle mass, and acid-base status.


Serum Uric Acid Level Renal Tubular Acidosis Plasma Potassium Potassium Supplement Intracellular Potassium 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • George T. Griffing
  • James C. Melby

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