Electrolyte imbalance is one of the most typical features of terminal renal disease. The serum potassium in particular tends to be elevated, and its level is in itself one of the indications for dialysis in uremic patients.
Although Spergel et al1 stressed that serum potassium determinations do not represent actual intracellular values, hypokalemia and hyperkalemia are clearly defined entities in clinical practice and produce well-recognized electrocardiographic alterations.2,3
Since elevations of serum potassium occur during renal transplantation and may produce cardiac arrhythmias,4-6 a study was undertaken in which determinations of serum potassium were performed hourly throughout these operations. Serum sodium values were simultaneously estimated for comparison.
Included in this study were 12 consecutive male patients undergoing renal homografts from related living donors at the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital. All recipients were premedicated with diazepam, 0.08 mg/kg, and pentazocine hydrochloride, 0.5 mg/kg, intramuscularly. Anesthesia was induced with 2