Clinical Investigation| Volume 364, ISSUE 4, P433-443, October 2022

Lactated Ringer's solution and risk of hyperkalemia in patients with reduced kidney function



      Emerging evidence supports the superiority of balanced crystalloids such as Lactated Ringer's (LR) compared to normal saline but concerns for the development of hyperkalemia have limited its use. Although LR inherently contains potassium, there exists a paucity of evidence to suggest that LR could potentiate hyperkalemia. To address this, we evaluated the effect of LR on serum potassium in patients with reduced kidney function who are at risk of developing hyperkalemia.


      We conducted a single-center, retrospective cohort-based observational clinical study that included 293 clinical encounters who were hospitalized with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of < 30 ml/min/1.73m2, at the time of hospital admission. Subjects must have received a minimum of 500 ml of LR continuously during the admission. Only those with a minimum of one lab report within 24 hours prior to-, and post-LR administration that reported serum measurements of potassium, glucose, and bicarbonate levels were included. Other potential risk factors for developing hyperkalemia including medication, tube feeds, potassium supplements, and red blood cell transfusion during or within 24 hours after LR administration were recorded.


      Serum potassium prior to LR use was highly correlated and predictive of the serum potassium after LR use [P < 0.0001; Odds Ratio 6.77 (3.73 – 12.28)]. Sixteen encounters (5%) developed de-novo hyperkalemia following LR use. No significant positive correlation between the amount of LR administered and the development of hyperkalemia was found.


      LR use was not independently associated with the development of hyperkalemia in patients with reduced kidney function.
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