WASHINGTON — Study results presented at ASN Kidney Week described the characteristics of patients who were more likely to be treated with insulin for hyperkalemia, a treatment which researchers argued is associated with longer hospital stays and increased mortality risk.
“Hyperkalemia is a common and serious medical emergency present in up to 10% of medical admissions,” Toby JL Humphrey, MD, of the division of experimental medicine and immunotherapeutics at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit, and colleagues wrote. “Current standard of care consists of an insulin infusion, but this has important theoretical limitations including onset and duration of action, hypoglycemia and requirement of hospitalization.”
Using electronic health records of 211,993 patients who visited the emergency department at a hospital in Cambridge, researchers identified patients with hyperkalemia (defined as having at least one potassium measurement of at least 6 mmol/L).
They found patients treated with insulin were more likely to be men and have had hypertension, CKD, diabetes and exposure to medications that increase potassium.
The researchers wrote, “receiving insulin for hyperkalemia remains independently associated with risk of death after adjustment for age, sex and comorbidity.” – by Melissa J. Webb
JL Humphrey T, et al. Abstract FR-PO647. Presented at: ASN Kidney Week; Nov. 7-10, 2019; Washington D.C.
Disclosure: Relevant financial disclosures could not be determined prior to publication.