Electrolyte Balance - Potassium : Nursing Course


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When treating sever hyperkalemia, you should give:

calcium gluconate, sodium bicarb, insulin, and glucose

Rationale: Severe hyperkalemia must be treated rapidly to prevent the possibility of cardiac arrest. The first action that should be taken is to stop any potassium medications that the patient may be receiving. The next important step is to increase the cardiac impulse conduction, which is achieved by administering calcium chloride or calcium gluconate. The excess potassium that is circulating in the bloodstream needs to be shifting back into the cells, which is accomplished by administering sodium bicarbonate, insulin, and 50% dextrose. When treating hyperkalemia that is not severe, IV diuretics can be given to promote excretion of potassium through the kidneys. Another option is to administer Kayexalate, which binds with potassium in the GI tract to lower high potassium levels.


Initial treatment for severe hypokalemia is:

potassium replacement

Rationale: The main priority in treating hypokalemia is to elevate the potassium levels in the body. This can be done by dietary changes, oral supplements, or IV potassium in severe situations. When potassium levels are slightly decreased, and the patient is asymptomatic, foods that are high in potassium and oral potassium supplements are usually recommended. When a patient is having cardiac symptoms as a result of hypokalemia, then IV doses of potassium are indicated. IV doses of potassium must follow a strict protocol to protect the patient from harm.


The normal range for potassium in the body is:

3.5- 5 mEq/L

Rationale:

Typical cardiac changes seen with hyperkalemia is:

tall, peaked T waves

Rationale:

A patient with a history of renal disease is at a high risk of developing:

hyperkalemia

Rationale:

Common symptoms of hypokalemia are:

muscle weakness and leg cramps

Rationale:

Typical cardiac changes seen with patients that are hypokalemic are:

flattened T waves and a depressed ST segment

Rationale:

When administering replacement potassium to a patient through an IV for hypokalemia, it should be administered:

over at least 1 hour, on an IV pump

Rationale:

A patient that a recent history of viral illness with severe diarrhea is at risk of developing:

hypokalemia

Rationale:

An intracellular electrolyte that influences skeletal and cardiac muscle activity is:

potassium

Rationale:

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