Hyperkalemia affects the myocardial tissue producing electrocardiographic abnormalities, such as prolongation of the P-R interval, tall peaked T waves, a reduction in the amplitude and an increase in the duration of P wave, and atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, including variable degree heart blocks. Elderly patients are particularly predisposed to developing hyperkalemia and the associated abnormalities due to an age-related reduction in glomerular filtration rate and pre-existing medical problems. Therefore, the impact of aging on potassium homeostasis must be taken into consideration, and preventive measures, such as early recognition of possible hyperkalemia in the geriatric population treated with certain medications or supplements must be investigated. The threshold for cardiac arrhythmias in the elderly can be lower than the general population. We report 3 unusual cases of mild hyperkalemia in elderly patients presenting with hypotension, syncope and variable degree heart blocks which resolved spontaneously with the correction of hyperkalemia.
Elderly patients, hyperkalemia, renal failure, syncope, heart block.
Emad Aziz, Coordinator ACAP Program, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1111 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025, USA. E-mail: EA2168@columbia.edu
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