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Immediate Plasma Potassium Levels in Treating Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Kenneth Alonso, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(3):750-752. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380030256044.
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To the Editor.  —I am surprised at your publication of the case report by Leventhal and Goldman, 1 without alteration of the thrust of the remarks made by the authors regarding a specific brand of equipment used.Ion-specific electrodes are used to measure a variety of substances, one of which is potassium. It is common to find this technology in hospital laboratories. Plasma is acceptable for measurement. Turn-around times should be rapid.The problem addressed in the case report is likely one of intrahospital communication (90 minutes for the stat report of electrolyte glucose, urea nitrogen, and creatinine levels is much too long). Did the authors draw the original blood sample for the laboratory in heparin or did they send the laboratory a clot tube? Did they indicate that the tests should be done and the results should be reported stat? Was the blood-gas analyzer immediately available to the authors


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