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Hypokalemia in Hospitalized Patients

Denes Marantos, MB; Bernard Hannet, MB; Patrick Phillips, FRACP
Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(6):817. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340060125036.
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To the Editor.  —The findings of Lawson et al in the September 1979 Archives (139:978-980) on the causes of hypokalemia in patients of the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, are similar to our own findings at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia.We studied 50 consecutive patients, during a four-month period, who had a serum potassium concentration of less than 3.0 mmole/L (95% reference range, 3.5 to 4.8 mmole/L). Patients with hypokalemia in this 970-bed general-teaching hospital were examined. A clear reason for hypokalemia could not be reliably identified in 18 patients. The major causes in 32 patients were found. We will compare our results with the data of Lawson et al.There are several interesting comparisons. The majority of patients in the Adelaide study (67%) and in the Glasgow study (82%) were women. In both studies, diuretics played a minor role (19% in the Adelaide study and 16% in the Glasgow


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