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Old 10-02-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
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Potassium too high

(I posted this yesterday on the JUDDD board, but thought maybe someone here might have experience.)

I had a physical last week and they ordered blood work, which I didn't get done until this morning. I just got a call from the doctor's office that my potassium is too high. I was told it's just past the high end of the reference range for normal, so it's not "critical" yet, but I'm supposed to avoid bananas, nuts, and other higher potassium foods.

I've requested a copy of my labs, but they have to mail it so I won't get it for a while. I take a multi-vitamin (checked and no potassium listed), as well as 2000 IU D3, a calcium/D3 supplement, 50 mg atenolol (for tachycardia--I sure don't need a potassium issue!), and 75 mcg Synthroid. Oh, and Benadryl at bedtime for insomnia.

Anybody have some words of wisdom?
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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Dawn,
False high potassium readings are very common due to errors in drawing blood. Did the tech tell you to place your hand into a fist and squeeze? If so, were you still squeezing when he/she inserted the needle into your arm? This is the number one cause of false elevated potassium readings. Phlebotomists are no longer being taught to have the patient squeeze their hands in a fist for that reason, yet some still tell patients to do this. This happened to my Mother; she had an elevated reading. When I asked her if the phlebotomist had her squeeze her hand in a fist, she said that he had given her a rubber ball and told her to squeeze it. When she had her next blood test she just pretended to squeeze the ball and her potassium was normal. It also happened to my Aunt. It's okay to squeeze your fist BEFORE the needle is inserted, but you shouldn't be squeezing when the needle goes in. You can google "falsely elevated potassium results" and you'll see it's true. If you were squeezing your hand, I would call the doctor and ask for a retest. Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie51 View Post
Dawn,
False high potassium readings are very common due to errors in drawing blood. Did the tech tell you to place your hand into a fist and squeeze? If so, were you still squeezing when he/she inserted the needle into your arm? This is the number one cause of false elevated potassium readings. Phlebotomists are no longer being taught to have the patient squeeze their hands in a fist for that reason, yet some still tell patients to do this. This happened to my Mother; she had an elevated reading. When I asked her if the phlebotomist had her squeeze her hand in a fist, she said that he had given her a rubber ball and told her to squeeze it. When she had her next blood test she just pretended to squeeze the ball and her potassium was normal. It also happened to my Aunt. It's okay to squeeze your fist BEFORE the needle is inserted, but you shouldn't be squeezing when the needle goes in. You can google "falsely elevated potassium results" and you'll see it's true. If you were squeezing your hand, I would call the doctor and ask for a retest. Good luck!
That's exactly what happened. I was still squeezing when the needle was inserted, and the phlebotomist actually had to tell me to relax my hand halfway through the draw. I had no idea that could affect the results. Thanks you!
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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You're very welcome, Dawn. Please keep us updated on your retest.
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