Minimising factitious hyperkalaemia

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7101.190a (Published 19 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:190

Samples should be centrifuged after collection in general practices

  1. P W Masters, Senior registrara,
  2. A A A Ismail, Director of pathologyb
  1. a Department of Clinical Chemistry, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB
  2. b Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield WF1 4DG
  3. c Muasdale Surgery, Argyll PA29 6XD

    Editor—The advice given by J D Johnston and S W Hawthorne on how to minimise factitious hyperkalaemia in blood samples from patients in general practice is misleading and potentially dangerous.1 We agree that samples should never be refrigerated, but it is not safe to assume that plasma potassium concentrations will remain unchanged when samples are left at room temperature. One of us (PWM) showed that in hot weather potassium concentrations may be falsely low in the first few hours after collection if blood samples are …

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