A team of scientists from multiple institutes in Thailand conducted a randomized controlled trial and that maintaining serum potassium levels can lead to a lower hazard ratio of peritonitis among patients with kidney failure. The findings of the trial were published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD). While conducting the trial the scientists compared a reactive strategy of potassium supplementation.
“…When serum potassium fell below 3.5 mEq/L, a protocol-based potassium supplementation strategy to maintain serum potassium in the target range of 4-5 mEq/L resulted in a longer time (90 days) to the first peritonitis episode, a lower hazard ratio of peritonitis, and a lesser proportion of free-peritonitis participants,” the scientists found.
According to the researchers, Hypokalemia is commonly found in patients with kidney failure who are on peritoneal dialysis (PD). The condition is often caused by excessive loss of potassium in urine due to prescription medications that increase urination.
The scientists conducted the trial on 167 hypokalemic patients receiving dialysis. The team of researchers analysed if a protocol-based correction of hypokalemia to maintain serum potassium 4-5 mEq/L (85 participants) could improve dialysis-related outcomes compared to reactive potassium supplementation administered when serum potassium levels fell below 3.5 mEq/L (82 participants).
Moreover, during the median follow-up time of 401 days, the protocol supplementation appeared safe and significantly reduced the risk of peritonitis. Meanwhile, Potassium chloride tablets at the dosage used in this study (25±13 mEq/day) demonstrated promising efficacy and relatively few side effects.
The scientists also found that most participants in the study tolerated the medications well, with only a tiny number discontinuing treatment due to adverse effects. Notably, only 4 percent of participants in the intervention group experienced asymptomatic hyperkalemia, they claimed.