How to minimise factitious hyperkalaemia in blood samples from general practice

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7088.1200a (Published 19 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1200
  1. J D Johnston, Lecturera,
  2. S W Hawthorne, General practitionerb
  1. a Department of Chemical Pathology, United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, St Thomas's Hospital, London SE1 7EH
  2. b The Health Centre, Foxley Square, London SW9 7RX

    Editor-Up to 30% of blood samples from general practice have serum potassium concentrations reported as above the quoted reference range. The most common cause of hyperkalaemia is factitious and occurs because of delay in separating red cells from serum.1 2 Genuine hyperkalaemia is an unusual but potentially fatal condition which requires immediate medical intervention. General practitioners must therefore decide how much credence to give to a high …

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