Hyperkalemia and Hypokalemia in CKD: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Clinical Outcomes

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2017 Sep;24(5):315-318. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2017.06.004.


Abnormalities of serum potassium are common in patients with CKD. Although hyperkalemia is a well-recognized complication of CKD, the prevalence rates of hyperkalemia (14%-20%) and hypokalemia (12%-18%) are similar. CKD severity, use of medications such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors and diuretics, and dietary potassium intake are major determinants of serum potassium concentration in CKD. Demographic factors, acid-base status, blood glucose, and other comorbidities contribute as well. Both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia are associated with similarly increased risks of death, cardiovascular disease, and hospitalization. On the other hand, limited evidence suggests a link between hypokalemia, but not hyperkalemia, and progression of CKD. This article reviews the prevalence rates and risk factors for hyperkalemia and hypokalemia, and their associations with adverse outcomes in CKD.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Hyperkalemia; Hypokalemia; Outcomes; Potassium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Bicarbonates / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / epidemiology*
  • Hyperkalemia / ethnology
  • Hyperkalemia / etiology
  • Hypokalemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypokalemia / ethnology
  • Hypokalemia / etiology
  • Potassium / blood*
  • Prevalence
  • Proteinuria / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / mortality
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Bicarbonates
  • Potassium