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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


What does it mean when a baby that is 5 weeks old and has high potassium thank you
    
A question we would like to ask you is why the child had his blood potassium checked? Was the doctor looking for a specific medical condition or was the blood checked for potassium as part of another test?

The most common cause of elevated potassium levels in the blood, known medically as kyperkalemia, is from the breakdown of red blood cells that sometimes happens when blood is taken from a vein. Red blood cells are high in potassium and if a lot of potassium is released into the blood when the specimen is taken, then a high potassium level is reported. A repeat blood test usually shows a normal potassium level.

There are many possible medical conditions that could cause an elevated potassium in your baby’s blood. Our kidneys help maintain normal potassium levels in the blood by filtration, reabsorption, and excretion of excess potassium in the urine with the aid of the hormone aldosterone. Therefore, kidney disease can cause abnormal levels of potassium to accumulate in the blood.

If potassium supplements are taken in excess of your kidneys' ability to remove them, a high level in the blood also may result. Destruction of blood cells within the body, such as from burns, major trauma or a transfusion reaction also can increase your potassium level. Rare conditions such as adrenal failure (Addison's disease) and some forms of congenital kidney disease also increase potassium in the blood. In addition, certain medications, like diuretics that conserve potassium also may result in hyperkalemia.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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