Electrolyte Balance - Potassium : Nursing Course


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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: Potassium administration must follow a strict protocol when administered through an IV. If intravenous potassium is administered too fast, the end result could be cardiac arrest, so NEVER administer potassium by IV push. When potassium is ordered through an IV, the infusion must be regulated on a pump. The mixture should be diluted with 15-20 mEqs of potassium in 100 mls of solution. This mixture should run over at least 1 hour. It is common for patients to complaint of burning at the IV site when potassium is administered, so watch the site closely. It may be necessary to slow the infusion to an even slower rate, depending on what the patient is able to tolerate.


The normal range for potassium in the body is:

3.5- 5 mEq/L

Rationale: Potassium is an electrolyte that is present in the body, and the slightest variation from normal levels can result in numerous changes in the body, including changes in cardiac rhythm. When a patient has an abnormal potassium level, it is important to determine the cause of the abnormal results. When the potassium values are abnormal, it is probable that other electrolytes in the body will also be abnormal. Treating the underlying cause of the abnormal value is essential to balancing out the electrolytes in the body, and maintaining the health of the patient.


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

potassium

Rationale:

When treating sever hyperkalemia, you should give:

calcium gluconate, sodium bicarb, insulin, and glucose

Rationale:

Typical cardiac changes seen with patients that are hypokalemic are:

flattened T waves and a depressed ST segment

Rationale:

Initial treatment for severe hypokalemia is:

potassium replacement

Rationale:

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

hypokalemia

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:

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