Relation of Serum Potassium Level to Long-Term Outcomes in Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction

Published:February 03, 2014DOI:
      Potassium plays a key role in normal myocardial function, and current guidelines recommend that serum potassium levels be maintained from 4.0 to 5.0 mEq/L in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, the impact of serum potassium levels on long-term mortality has not been evaluated. We retrospectively studied 1,924 patients diagnosed with AMI. The average serum potassium levels measured throughout the hospitalization were obtained and statistically analyzed. Patients were categorized into 5 groups to determine the relation between mean serum potassium and long-term mortality: <3.5, 3.5 to <4.0, 4.0 to <4.5, 4.5 to <5.0, and ≥5 mEq/L. The long-term mortality was lowest in the group of patients with potassium levels of 3.5 to <4.0 mEq/L, whereas mortality was higher in the patients with potassium levels ≥4.5 or <3.5 mEq/L. In a multivariate Cox-proportional regression analysis, the mortality risk was greater for serum potassium levels of >4.5 mEq/L (hazard ratio [HR] 1.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04 to 2.81 and HR 4.78, 95% CI 2.14 to 10.69, for patients with potassium levels of 4.5 to <5.0 mEq/L and ≥5.0, respectively) compared with patients with potassium levels of 3.5 to <4.0 mEq/L. The mortality risk was also higher for patients with potassium levels <3.5 mEq/L (HR 1.55, 95% CI 0.94 to 2.56). In contrast to the association with long-term mortality, there was no relation between serum potassium levels and the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias. The results of the current analysis suggest that there is a need for change in our current concepts of the ideal serum potassium levels in patients with AMI.
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