Pseudohyperkalemia Associated With Leukemia
Elevated potassium levels can be a life-threatening emergency. We describe a case of falsely elevated serum potassium level in a patient with leukemia, which was suspected to be falsely elevated because the patient was asymptomatic with a normal electrocardiogram (EKG). Common reasons behind such a discrepancy in leukemia patients are the use of a tourniquet before collection, use of vacuum/pneumatic tubes for transportation, prolonged periods of incubation, use of heparin for sample collection, and processing of samples via centrifugation. Since the process is related to the method of collection and processing, we recommend using rapid point of care testing in such cases to differentiate between false and true potassium elevation, as it is a well-validated tool. Moreover, there is a good correlation between potassium measured with the blood gas, point of care, and central laboratory analyzers when the concentration of potassium is above 3 mEq/L.
Shrestha, B., Rijal, S. S., Pokhrel, A., Paudel, A., Baral, K., Poudel, B., Basnet, S., & Donato, A. (2022). Pseudohyperkalemia Associated With Leukemia. Cureus, 14 (4), e23978. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.23978