VIRGINIA—Males, although varied by race, with chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as elevated or decreased levels of potassium have a higher mortality rate than patients with normal potassium levels, researchers reported in Nephron Clinical Practice.
Hypokalemia (low potassium) confers a greater risk of death for blacks than whites, whereas hyperkalemia (high potassium) increases the risk of death among whites but not blacks.
In addition, the study showed that hypokalemia is associated with faster CKD progression independent of race.
“Hyperkalemia management may warrant race-specific consideration, and hypokalemia correction may slow CKD progression,” the authors concluded.
Researchers led by Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD, of the University of Virginia in Charlotte and the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Va., studied pre-dialysis mortality and slopes of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in a cohort of 1,227 male CKD patients (933 whites and 294 blacks). The investigators defined hypokalemia as a serum potassium level below 3.8 mEq/L in the study population overall and in whites, and as a level below 3.7 mEq/L in blacks. They defined hyperkalemia as a serum potassium level above 5.5 mEq/L in all three groups. A level of 3.8-5.5 mEq/L served as the reference value for the study population overall and for whites; a level of 3.7-5.5 mEq/L served as the reference for blacks.