How can hyperkalemia (high blood potassium levels) be treated?

Treatments for high blood potassium levels include:

  • Dialysis
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Intravenous (directly into the veins) glucose and insulin
  • Medications called cation exchangers that absorb and get rid of potassium through the gut

Intravenous calcium is usually given in hyperkalemia to stabilize the heart to try to prevent irregular heart rhythm if potassium levels are dangerously high. A long-term treatment would be decreasing the amount of potassium in the diet. Soaking or boiling vegetables and fruits in water can decrease potassium.

  • It is important for patients to know that cardiac arrest (absent heartbeat) can occur at any time while hyperkalemia is being treated. Close monitoring is required during treatment.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/19/2016.

References

  • American Academy of Family Physicians. Hyperkalemia Accessed 1/9/2017.
  • National Kidney Foundation. Potassium and Your CKD Diet Accessed 1/9/2017.
  • Hirsch S. An update on proteinuric chronic kidney disease: the dual-goal approach. Cleve Clin J Med. 2008; 75:705–713.

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