Navigation Links
Study Challenges Potassium Guidelines for Heart Attack Patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack patients whose blood potassium levels are within a certain range are less likely to die than those with levels of the mineral below or above that range, says a new study that challenges current recommendations for potassium levels in heart attack patients.

Researchers looked at data from nearly 39,000 heart attack patients admitted to 67 U.S. hospitals between 2000 and 2008. Of those patients, nearly 7 percent died while they were hospitalized.

The death rate for patients with blood potassium levels of between 3.5 and less than 4 mEq/L (milliEquivalents per liter) was 4.8 percent, about the same as the 5 percent death rate among those with levels of 4 mEq/L to less than 4.5 mEq/L.

But mortality rose to 10 percent for those with levels of 4.5 to less than 5 mEq/L, and was even higher for those with levels greater than 5 mEq/L, the investigators found.

Patients with potassium levels of less than 3.5 mEq/L also had a higher death rate than those with levels of between 3.5 and less than 4.5 mEq/L, Dr. Abhinav Goyal, of the Emory Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, and colleagues, reported in the study published in the Jan. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Currently, professional societies and experts recommend that potassium levels in heart attack patients should be maintained between 4.0 and 5.0 mEq/L or even 4.5 to 5.5 mEq/L, the researchers noted.

"In conclusion, our large study of patients with AMI [acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack] challenges current clinical practice guidelines that endorse maintaining serum potassium levels between 4.0 and 5.0 mEq/L," the study authors wrote.

The guidelines are based on small, older studies that focused only on ventricular arrhythmias and not mortality, and were conducted before the routine use of beta-blockers, treatments to quickly clear blockages and restore blood flow, and other treatment advances, the researchers said.

"Our data suggest that the optimal range of serum potassium levels in AMI patients may be between 3.5 and 4.5 mEq/L and that potassium levels of greater than 4.5 mEq/L are associated with increased mortality and should probably be avoided," the study authors noted.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Benjamin Scirica and Dr. David Morrow of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that proving maintaining certain potassium levels prevents deaths would require a clinical trial that randomly assigns patients to different treatments, which is unlikely to ever be done.

"Thus, decisions about care must be formulated on the basis of best available information," the editorialists wrote.

Given that it is inexpensive and relatively low-risk, it's "reasonable" to avoid abnormally low potassium levels of less than 3.5 mEq/L in heart attack patients.

"However, based on the report by Goyal [and colleagues], viewed together with previous smaller studies . . . routinely targeting levels greater than 4.5 mEq/L, do not appear justified."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart attack.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Jan. 10, 2012

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Lower risk of death linked with access to key attributes of primary care, UC Davis study shows
2. Diabetes study shines spotlight on lifestyle interventions
3. Grief Is a Real Heartbreaker, Study Finds
4. Study finds federal amendments increased gun sales diverted to criminals
5. Nicotine Patches, Gums Wont Help Smokers Quit Long-Term: Study
6. Power of Acupuncture to Ease Migraines Questioned in Study
7. Exercise May Help Those at Higher Risk for Alzheimers: Study
8. Short Delay in Treating Blood Pressure Safe for Diabetics: Study
9. New study supports view that Lewy bodies are not the primary cause of cell death in PD
10. PSA Test for Prostate Cancer Doesnt Save Lives: Study
11. Study shows no evidence of a mortality benefit to PSA screening
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. Using the Ocean Platform, family ... tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) without the need for redundant ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., ... the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by ... through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... all, Water For Empowerment ™ attracts volunteers together who want to combine ... empowering women as key stakeholders in the process. The non-profit launched its first ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... NV (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. ... patients to learn more about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy ... effective solution for thicker and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, ... country to celebrate their sobriety and show through pictures what a positive difference ... photos this Thanksgiving with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nederland, November 26, 2015 ... Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie met ... kanker. ) ...      (Photo: ) ... Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive ... --> --> ... analysis of the Japanese therapeutic drug monitoring market, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... --> ... att använda SyMRI för att hitta optimal ... med multipel skleros (MS) eller hjärntumörmetastaser och ... för att kunna använda SyMRI Research Edition ... kan man generera flera konstrastbilder från en ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: