Message Number: YG7188 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-09-10 16:24:00 UTC
Subject: renal failure and potassium levels

I don't know what happens in the ferret population, but in the human population potassium levels are always high in renal failure patients unless they are on potassium wasting diuretics. I was a kidney transplant coordinator in Washington DC for years, and one of the biggest problems we had was keeping blood electrolyte levels stable (low) enough to be able to operate on people. High potassium levels create a very high mortality rate during surgery.

In 20 years of nursing practice, I have never heard of a kidney failure patient having a low potassium level, unless they are on potassium wasting diuretics, and even then usually run high normal. We have had several who self treated with potassium supplements, despite warnings not to, who have died from cardiac complications because of potassium levels incompatible with life. We actually would have patients keep home supplies of a product called kayexalate, which is a medication that forces the body to expell potassium through bowel movements,to use if they missed a dialysis treatment.

Maybe ferrets are different, which is why I was asking the question.