Authors: Hainsworth AJ, Gatenby PA
Citation: Int J Surg 2008 Aug;6(4):287-8
PMID : 18485847, Journal: Int J Surg, 6, 4
Date created: 2008-08-08
Hospital inpatients are frequently hypokalaemic. Low plasma potassium levels may cause life threatening complications, such as cardiac arrhythmias. Potassium supplementation may be administered parenterally or enterally. Oral potassium supplements have been associated with oesophageal ulceration, strictures and gastritis. An alternative to potassium salt tablets or solution is dietary modification with potassium rich food stuffs, which has been proven to be a safe and effective method for potassium supplementation. The potassium content of one medium banana is equivalent to a 12 mmol potassium salt tablet. Potassium supplementation by dietary modification has been shown to be equally efficacious to oral potassium salt supplementation and is preferred by the majority of patients. Subsequently, it is our practice to replace potassium using dietary modification, particularly in surgical patients having undergone oesophagogastrectomy or in those with peptic ulcer disease.