Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cardiovascular Patients Taking Certain Medications Need Close Monitoring To Guard Against Dangerously High Potassium Levels

Date:
August 17, 2004
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas
Summary:
Some patients with hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases should be closely monitored in order to maintain safe potassium levels in the body when prescribed certain medications, counsels a nephrologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

DALLAS (Aug. 10, 2004) -- Some patients with hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases should be closely monitored in order to maintain safe potassium levels in the body when prescribed certain medications, counsels a nephrologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Related Articles


Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers are commonly used to treat hypertension and decrease cardiovascular problems in high-risk patients. A side effect to these therapeutics is hyperkalemia, or higher than normal levels of potassium in the bloodstream.

"Because a third to half of patients with congestive heart failure have kidney complications, a large proportion of patients being treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers are at increased risk for hyperkalemia," said Dr. Biff Palmer, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, in a review article in the Aug. 5 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The balance of potassium between cells and the blood is critical. Potassium affects the way cell membranes work and governs the action of the heart and pathways between the brain and muscles. The development of hyperkalemia is a potentially life-threatening complication because it can disrupt the heart's normal rhythm.

Potassium is primarily excreted by the kidneys. However, the levels can become elevated if the kidneys are not functioning properly or if damaged cells release potassium into the bloodstream faster than the kidneys can remove it.

Hyperkalemia has been linked to the use of ACE inhibitors in 10 percent to 38 percent of hospitalized patients with hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases, and it develops in about 10 percent of outpatients within a year of these drugs being prescribed. Patients at greatest risk include those with diabetes and those with impaired kidney function who may already have complications in excreting potassium.

Dr. Palmer said it is important for physicians to identify patients at risk for hyperkalemia and implement corresponding measures when using these drugs.

"The patient's medication profile should be reviewed and drugs discontinued that impair excretion of potassium in the kidney, such as over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen," he said. "Patients should be asked about the use of herbal remedies, as herbs can be a hidden source of potassium."

Also, a low-potassium diet - avoiding orange juice, melons, bananas and salt substitutes with potassium - should be prescribed. If treatment with an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-receptor blocker is needed, it is best to begin with low doses, Dr. Palmer said. Implementing these measures will allow patients at increased risk for hyperkalemia to enjoy the cardiovascular benefits of these drugs rather than unnecessarily being labeled intolerant as a result of the disorder.

The review article, intended as a guide for physicians, accompanies a study by researchers from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. The study documents a multifold increase in the incidence of hyperkalemia in congestive heart patients following the publication of a trial in 1999 that reported use of an aldosterone-receptor blocker and an ACE inhibitor together reduces death rates in such patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "Cardiovascular Patients Taking Certain Medications Need Close Monitoring To Guard Against Dangerously High Potassium Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812052709.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. (2004, August 17). Cardiovascular Patients Taking Certain Medications Need Close Monitoring To Guard Against Dangerously High Potassium Levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812052709.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "Cardiovascular Patients Taking Certain Medications Need Close Monitoring To Guard Against Dangerously High Potassium Levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812052709.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins