Incidence and Clinical Significance of Hyperkalemia Following Heart Transplantation

Matan Uriel, Luise Holzhauser, Ann Nguyen, Teruhiko Imamura, Laura Lourenco, Daniel Rodgers, Jayant Raikhelkar, Gene Kim, Gabriel Sayer, Nir Uriel, Takeo Fujino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Hyperkalemia (HK) is a life-threatening complication following solid organ transplantation, and patients often need potassium-chelating agents and deviations from standard posttransplant protocols. This is the first study to report the incidence and clinical impact of hyperkalemia following heart transplantation. Methods: We retrospectively included patients who underwent heart transplantation at our institution between April 2014 and December 2018. Patients with multiorgan transplantation were excluded. Clinical outcomes of patients who had serum potassium >5.5 mEq/L in the first year posttransplant (HK group) were compared to patients who did not have serum potassium >5.5 mEq/L in the first year posttransplant (non-HK group). Results: A total of 143 patients were included in this study. During the first year posttransplant, cumulative incidence of serum potassium >5.0, >5.5, and >6.0 mEq/L was 96%, 63%, and 24%, respectively. Fifty-five percent of patients required treatment with potassium-chelating agents. Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim was discontinued because of HK in 39% of patients. Overall survival of patients in the HK group (n = 89) was comparable to that of patients in the non-HK group (n = 54, 91% vs 98% at 1 year, P = .19), whereas infection-free survival was significantly lower in the HK group (34% vs 53% at 1 year, P = .010). Multivariate analysis revealed pretransplant renal dysfunction (odds ratio = 2.62; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-5.80; P = .018) and use of mechanical circulatory support (odds ratio = 2.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-7.76; P = .035) as significant predictors of posttransplant hyperkalemia. Conclusions: The incidence of HK following heart transplantation was high, with more than half of patients requiring any therapeutic interventions, and HK was related to an increase in infection events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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