Glucose and insulin infusion versus kayexalate for the early treatment of non-oliguric hyperkalemia in very-low-birth-weight infants

P S Hu, B H Su, C T Peng, C H Tsai
Acta Paediatrica Taiwanica, Taiwan Er Ke Yi Xue Hui za Zhi 1999, 40 (5): 314-8
Forty very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with non-oliguric hyperkalemia in the first few days after birth were enrolled in this study. They were randomly divided into 2 groups, regular insulin (RI) infusion group and kayexalate resin enema group. Therapy was administered when serum potassium level was greater than 6 mEq/L. None of these infants received blood transfusion during this study course. In RI group (n = 20), the ratio of infusion glucose to regular insulin was 10-15 gm glucose to 1 unit RI, and the glucose infusion rate was maintained at least 6 mg/Kg/min. In Kayexalate group (n = 20), the dose of Kayexalate was 1 gm/Kg body weight given rectally every four hours. All treatment discontinued after the serum potassium level returned to normal for 6 hours. The mean gestational ages were 27.4 +/- 1.8 weeks in RI group and 28.4 +/- 2.4 weeks in Kayexalate group, respectively. Mean birth weights were 935 +/- 259 gm (RI) and 1065 +/- 214 gm (Kayexalate). The ages at onset of hyperkalemia were 24.6 +/- 8.2 (RI) and 22.2 +/- 8.1 (Kayexalate) hours after birth. The mean urine outputs during the 8-hour interval prior to development of hyperkalemia were 5.4 +/- 1.3 (RI) and 5.5 +/- 0.9 (Kayexalate) ml/kg/min. The durations of hyperkalemia were 26.4 +/- 14.9 (RI) and 38.6 +/- 13.3 (Kayexalate) hours. The peak serum potassium levels during therapy were 7.3 +/- 0.9 and 7.4 +/- 0.6 mEq/L. The incidences of grade II and above intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) were 15% (3/20) and 50% (10/20). The incidences of cardiac dysrhythmia were 5% (1/20) and 10% (2/20). Significantly shorter duration of non-oliguric hyperkalemia and lower incidence of IVH were noted in RI group, but there were no differences in the peak potassium level or the incidence of cardiac dysrhythmia between these two groups. We conclude that to use early continuous regular insulin infusion therapy for the treatment of non-oliguric hyperkalemia in VLBW infants is more effective than kayexalate in decreasing the duration of hyperkalemia and reducing the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage.

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