Alternative Names

High potassium; Potassium – high

Definition of Hyperkalemia

Hyperkalemia is higher-than-normal levels of potassium in the blood.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Potassium is involved in regulating muscle tissue, and is part of digestion, metabolism, and homeostasis (maintaining a balance between the many electrical and chemical processes of the body).


Hyperkalemia often has no symptoms. Occasionally, people may have the following symptoms:


Cardiac arrest (absent heartbeat) may occur at any time during the treatment of hyperkalemia. Hospitalization and close monitoring are required.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome with this condition varies. In some people, the disorder causes deadly complications, while others tolerate it well.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/15/2009

Circulatory system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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