Cuyahoga Falls — Western Reserve Hospital served as the location of a 267-patient medical study that explored a better, less-costly approach to preventing hypokalemia, or low potassium in the bloodstream, in critically ill patients. Unity Health Network Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Physician Howard Klions, MD, and Western Reserve Hospital Nurse Cinderella Menhart led the study, along with the University of Akron’s Carrie J. Scotto, RN, Ph.D., and Mark Fridline, Ph.D.
“We wanted to conduct this study because many therapies used in critical care can cause potassium depletion,” Dr. Klions said. “The additional procedures needed to replace that lost potassium can be costly, increase the nurse’s workload and, most importantly, create additional risks for the patients.”
The results of the study showed that by administering a small dose of potassium each day through the patient’s IV, patients were able to avoid hypokalemic events, resulting in fewer invasive procedures and lower costs.
The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Critical Care.