The effect of calcium gluconate in the treatment of hyperkalemia
1Department of Emergency Medicine, Izmir Bozyaka Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
2Department of Emergency Medicine, Izmir Katip Celebi University, Ataturk Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
Keywords: Acidosis, calcium gluconate, electrocardiography, hyperkalemia, renal failure
OBJECTIVES: Intravenous (IV) calcium salts are routinely recommended as a cardio protective therapy in the emergency treatment of severe hyperkalemia. However, this recommendation is supported by a low level of evidence and is anecdotal. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of IV Calcium (Ca) gluconate in the treatment of hyperkalemia.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with hyperkalemia and with the electrocardiogram (ECG) changes due to hyperkalemia over a 1 year period were included in this prospective observational study. Patients’ ECGs were measured, before and after IV Ca gluconate treatment and after normalization of potassium levels. Wilcoxon test and McNemar’s test were used to compare the ECG parameters before and after Ca gluconate therapy.
RESULTS: The mean potassium value of 111 patients who met the inclusion criteria was 7.1 ± 0.6 mmol/l. In this study, a total of 243 ECG pathology related to hyperkalemia, 79 of which included main rhythm disorders, and the remaining 164 were nonrhythm disorders in ECG parameters, were analyzed. No statistically significant changes were determined in patients’ nonrhythm ECG disorders with IV Ca gluconate treatment (P = 0.125). However, nine of the 79 main rhythm disorders due to hyperkalemia improved with calcium gluconate treatment and this change was statistically significant (P < 0.004).
CONCLUSION: IV Ca gluconate therapy was found to be effective, albeit to a limited degree, in main rhythm ECG disorders due to hyperkalemia, but it was not found to be effective in nonrhythm ECG disorders due to hyperkalemia. Therefore, Ca gluconate may be effective only in the main rhythm disorders due to hyperkalemia.