JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
REVIEW
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Spurious Electrolyte and Acid-Base Disorders in the Patient With Cancer: A Review.

Electrolyte and acid-base disorders are frequently encountered in patients with malignancy, either due to cancer itself or as a complication of its therapy. However, spurious electrolyte disorders can complicate the interpretation and management of these patients. Several electrolytes can be artifactually increased or decreased such that the serum electrolyte values do not correspond to their actual systemic levels, potentially resulting in extensive diagnostic investigations and therapeutic interventions. Examples of spurious derangements include pseudohyponatremia, pseudohypokalemia, pseudohyperkalemia, pseudohypophosphatemia, pseudohyperphosphatemia, and artifactual acid-base abnormalities. Correctly interpreting these artifactual laboratory abnormalities is imperative for avoiding unnecessary and potentially harmful interventions in cancer patients. The factors influencing these spurious results also must be recognized, along with the steps to minimize them. We present a narrative review of commonly reported pseudo electrolyte disorders and describe strategies to exclude erroneous interpretations of these laboratory values and avoid pitfalls. Awareness and recognition of spurious electrolyte and acid-base disorders can prevent unnecessary and harmful treatments.

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