Comparison of aminophylline and insulin-dextrose infusions in acute therapy of hyperkalemia in end-stage renal disease patients

S K Mahajan, M Mangla, K Kishore
Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 2001, 49: 1082-5

OBJECTIVE: This study was performed to compare the efficacy of aminophylline and insulin-dextrose infusion as acute treatment modality of hyperkalemia in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

METHODS: This study was conducted on 30 ESRD patients with serum potassium > 6.0 mEq/L. These patients were divided in two groups of 15 each. Group A patients were treated with aminophylline infusion, whereas group B patients were treated with insulin-dextrose infusion. Serum potassium and other biochemical parameters such as blood sugar were measured at beginning of treatment followed by at 60 minutes, 180 minutes, and 360 minutes after treatment.

RESULTS: Intervenous infusion of aminophylline lowered plasma potassium from 6.48 +/- 0.39 mEq/L to 5.92 +/- 0.40 mEq/L at 180 minutes (p < 0.001 Vs basal) and 6.05 +/- 0.53 mEq/L at 360 minutes (p < 0.01 Vs basal). Whereas, intravenous infusion of insulin-dextrose decreased plasma potassium from 6.59 +/- 0.31 mEq/L to 5.76 +/- 0.32 mEq/L (p < 0.001 Vs basal) and 5.84 +/- 0.21 mEq/L (p < 0.001 Vs basal). Thus in both groups, plasma potassium levels were significantly less than basal levels throughout the study. The decrease in plasma potassium was significantly more in group B patients (p value is < 0.001 after 60 minutes, < 0.05 after 180 minutes and < 0.05 after 360 minutes) when compared to group A patients. There was one episode of hypoglycemia (blood sugar < 60 mg%) in insulin-dextrose infusion group. No other side effects were observed throughout the study.

CONCLUSION: Aminophylline is an effective modality for acute treatment of hyperkalemia, though it is less effective than insulin-dextrose infusion. However, more studies are required to confirm these results.

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