NEW YORK, June 20 (Praxis Press) Criteria for deciding whether patients with hyperkalemia should be treated in a hospital or as an outpatient have not been well established. Charytan and colleagues examined the current practices regarding hospitalization of patients with hyperkalemia and evaluated the criteria for admission. To perform the study they evaluated 11 patients hospitalized for hyperkalemia and compared them to 12 patients with a similar degree of hyperkalemia who were treated as outpatients. The researchers found that the justification for the decision to admit patients to the hospital or to treat them as outpatients was often not evident. The criteria for hospitalization suggested by the researchers include severe hyperkalemia (8.0 mmol/L, with changes other than peaked T waves on the electrocardiogram), acute worsening of renal function, and supervening medical problems. Patients with severe hyperkalemia should be admitted to a hospital.

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