Brad Karon, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director of Laboratory Services for the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, authored an article on causes and prevention of pseudohyperkalemia in MedicalLab Management.
Pseudohyperkalemia is a long-recognized phenomenon wherein serum potassium levels are found to be elevated compared to correlated plasma potassium levels in the same patient. According to Dr. Karon, "True hyperkalemia is associated with conditions such as renal failure or large-scale tissue trauma and can be life threatening. As such, mitigating pseudohyperkalemia is essential, especially for facilities that utilize multiple draw sites and multi-step transportation processes."
In the article, Dr. Karon discusses the background of the phenomenon, falsely elevated potassium, and causes of inaccurate measurement, which include:
- Fist pumping
- Seasonal hyperkalemia
- Impact of on-site centrifuging