Absence of adverse outcomes in hyperkalemic patients undergoing vascular access surgery

Ronald P. Olson, Adam J. Schow, Richard McCann, David Lubarsky, Tong J. Gan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The decision to cancel vascular access surgery because of hyperkalemia requires knowledge of the risks vs benefits. This study sought to identify and characterize cases where surgery had been performed in patients with uncorrected hyperkalemia. Methods: One thousand four hundred and seventy-two consecutive cases of vascular access surgery at an academic medical centre between 1995 and 2000 by a single surgeon were analyzed retrospectively. Results: Eight cases had clear documentation that the case proceeded with hyperkalemia. Anesthesia techniques were one general anesthetic, one regional block, five monitored anesthesia care (MAC), and one local infiltration only. Mean potassium was 6.9 mmol·L-1 (range 6.1-8.0). In this series of selected asymptomatic hyperkalemic patients undergoing low risk surgery, no adverse results occurred. Conclusion: While this review of eight cases (only one receiving general anesthesia) cannot be used to prove the safety of proceeding to surgery with uncorrected hyperkalemia, it does suggest that asymptomatic hyperkalemia may not be an absolute contraindication to vascular access surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-557
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Anesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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