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Metabolic consequences of glucose-insulin-potassium infusion in treatment of acute myocardial infarction

J W Prather, R O Russell, J A Mantle, H G McDaniel, C E Rackley
American Journal of Cardiology 1976, 38 (1): 95-9
Eighteen patients treated with glucose-insulin-potassium infusion for anaerobic support of acutely ischemic myocardial tissue were studied to ascertain the metabolic consequences of this therapy, for acute myocardial infarction. Twelve patients with acute myocardial infarction were treated in a conventional manner and served as control subjects. The glucose-insulin-potassium solution was composed of 300 g of glucose, 50 units of regular insulin and 80 mEq of potassium ion per liter, and was infused at a rate of 1.5 ml/kg per hour through the right atrial port of an indwelling Swan-Ganz thermodilution catheter. Serial measurements of serum electrolytes, cardiac and hepatic enzymes, glucose and osmolality were obtained every 4 to 6 hours for 4 days. Twenty-four urinary volume and potassium levels were measured daily. Pulmonary arterial end-diastolic pressure was measured hourly and the cardiac index daily for the duration of the study. Serum potassium increased to 5 mEq/liter during the infusion and to more than 6 mEq/liter after infusion in 28 percent of patients. No recognizable complications or arrhythmias accompanied this transient hyperkalemia. Potassium balance studies revealed a net total body potassium ion gain of 120 MEq during the study. The second most frequent finding was an elevation of serum glucose (mean 175 mg/100 ml); in all instances this was controlled with supplemental administration of insulin. The serum osmolality and fluid balance remained normal in all patients during the study. Serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and fraction 5 of lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) were increased in 34 percent of the patients during the last 12 to 18 hours of the glucose-insulin-potassium infusion. Characterization of these enzymes suggested a hepatic origin for these changes. This study suggests that glucose-insulin-potassium infusion is a relatively safe procedure in which postinfusion hyperkalemia is the most serious potential complication.


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