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Kidney Disease
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High Potassium Level

I am 28 year old male and having issue with heart palpitation only after eating. Doctor did some liver function test, Urea and electrolytes and full blood count. Everything is normal except potassium level.

Following is the result:

Serum sodium level 140 mmol/L [133.0 - 146.0]

Serum potassium level 5.5 mmol/L (High) [3.5 - 5.3]

Serum urea level 3.0 mmol/L [2.5 - 7.8]

Serum creatinine level 73 umol/L [60.0 - 120.0]

Acute Kidney Injury Staging 0

GFR calculated abbreviated MDRD > 90 mL/min/1.73m2

eGFR (CKD-EPI) > 90 mL/min/1.73m2

Can someone please tell me if this is dangerous.

10 Replies
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Have you checked your medications? It can be a side effect of the medications too.

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Thank you for your reply. I haven't taken a single medication from the last one year not even paracetamol or ibuprofen.

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Hi Shane,

Yes that level of potassium is high and if your are having heart palpitations, you should tell your doctor ASAP.

Check what you are eating. Potassium is in everything we eat. Some more than others. Potatoes and tomatoes are very high. I will post a link with the highest things. Meat and fish are also very high. Track how much potassium you are consuming with the davita.com tracker or look up everything. You will be surprised. Even tea and coffee have it.

healthline.com/nutrition/hi...

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Hi bassetmommer

I have just spoke with my GP and he said it is just a little bit high and suggested to do a re-test.

He also said sometime the weather or during transport of the blood to laboratory can change the result.

If it comes high again then they will do a re-test and if it comes high the third time then they will consider recommending me to specialist.

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Yikes, I have never heard of the transporting of lab samples affecting their result. How did they go, by mule? But he is right to retest and see what is going on. You may have just had too much potassium the day of your test. But think about it as you do not want to have high potassium. It is hard on the heart.

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I think the "transporting of lab samples" depends on how the samples are handled by the people who are doing the test. I just had my urine test come back as: "Calculation not able to be performed". I asked my nephrologist what that was all about and she said that if I had been hydrating and the urine had not been tested soon after, the results would come back as clear water.

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yes, that is common and can also be from contamination by the patient. But lab draws being messed up by transport..... I don't think so and that is actually scary. Can you imagine if that was true what a mess that would be?

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Labs not spun correctly, not kept cold while being transported, or kept too warm or allowed to freeze are all very possible and DO happen. I draw all my labs at home and ship via Fed Ex express (overnight). We have specific instructions on shipping with ice oaks ECT. I have heard others who draw and ship from home have had shipments denied, results skewed due to mistakes. That being said all of his results are great excepting the potassium which is borderline high and I would definitely recommend retest. Blessings

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That level of 5.5 potassium is borderline normal/high. My lab limits are 5.5. So if it were 5.6 it would be considered high. Otherwise it's considered normal. Another lab says anything over 5.0 is too high. IMHO all your other labs look great so it's odd the potassium would appear somewhat elevated. Your kidney function appears normal so my question is why ask people in a kidney disease group? My first impression is lab error given all other results are WNL(within normal limits). Hope that helps. Blessings

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Thank you so much for your opinion. After having a low potassium diet for a week and a re-test my new test results are as follows:

Serum sodium level 142 mmol/L [133.0 - 146.0]

Serum potassium level 4.4 mmol/L [3.5 - 5.3]

Serum urea level 3.4 mmol/L [2.5 - 7.8]

Serum creatinine level 67 umol/L [60.0 - 120.0]

No Acute Kidney Injury

GFR calculated abbreviated MDRD > 90 mL/min/1.73m2

eGFR (CKD-EPI) > 90 mL/min/1.73m2

My potassium level has gone down to 4.4 from 5.5 after having a low potassium diet for a week. Should I keep carrying low potassium diet OR was it a lab error?

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