Hypokalemia following trauma

Alan L. Beal, Karen E. Scheltema, Greg J. Beilman, William E. Deuser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Frequent hypokalemia was noted immediately after trauma, and it was hypothesized that hypokalemia occurred more frequently in the more severely injured. A retrospective trauma registry and chart review was done on 546 trauma patients looking at admission potassium, a variety of lab tests related to potassium, specific injuries, hospital/ICU lengths of stay, and general patient demographics. Admission hypokalemia (K < 3.6 meq/l) was more frequent in those with closed head injuries (41.1% vs. 27.5%, P < .001) and in those who suffered spinal cord injuries (54.5% vs. 33.6%, P < .05). Hyperglycemia was more frequent with admission hypokalemia (45.2% vs. 29.7%, P < .001). Hypokalemia occurred more frequently in younger patients (28.6 vs. 37.7 y, P < .001). Also, the pediatric group, ages 5-14, had admission hypokalemia more frequently than those ages 15-59, or those ages > 59. (54.9% vs. 34.5% vs. 16.7%, P < .001). Glasgow Coma Scores (GCS) were significantly lower(12.0 vs. 13.5, P < .001) and Injury Severity Scores (ISS) were higher (17.4 vs. 13.4, P < .001), with admission hypokalemia. Additionally, hypokalemia was a positive predictor of ISS (P = .05). Hypokalemic patients more likely needed a ventilator, (26.6% vs. 16.5%, P < .01) but did not have significantly more ventilator days (P > .05). Subsequently, hypokalemic patients had longer ICU lengths of stay (LOS) (2.6 vs. 1.5 days, P < .005) and longer hospital LOS (8.5 vs. 5.6 days, P < .001). When stratified into categories of "severe": (K < 3.1 meq/l), "moderate": (K = 3.1-3.3 meq/l), and "mild": (K = 3.4-3.5 meq/l) hypokalemia, those with severe hypokalemia had significantly lower GCS (10.0 vs. 13.1,p < .05), higher serum glucose levels (167 vs. 137mg/dl, P < .05), lower creatinine levels (.77 vs. .95 mg/dl, P < .05), and longer hospital lengths of stay (13.1 days vs. 7.6 days, P < .05 results).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-110
Number of pages4
JournalShock
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2002

Keywords

  • Electrolytes
  • Glasgow Coma Score (GCS)
  • Head injury
  • Injury Severity Score (ISS)
  • Length of stay (LOS)
  • Resuscitation
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Wounds and Injuries-Complications

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