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Succinylcholine-induced Hyperkalemia Following Prolonged Pharmacologic Neuromuscular Blockade

Boaz A. Markewitz; Mark R. Elstad
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Affiliations: From the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Shreveport,  From the Medicine Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Medicine (Division of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Occupational Pulmonary Medicine), University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City

Affiliations: From the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Shreveport,  From the Medicine Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Medicine (Division of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Occupational Pulmonary Medicine), University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City


1997 by the American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 1997;111(1):248-250. doi:10.1378/chest.111.1.248
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Abstract

While being treated for the acute respiratory distress syndrome, a 27-year-old woman developed profound hyperkalemia and cardiac arrest following the administration of succinylcholine chloride (SCh). She had none of the risk factors previously described for development of severe hyperkalemia following SCh administrations; however, she had been intermittently treated with nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking drugs throughout the course of her illness. We suggest that immobilization of critically ill patients with pharmacologic neuromuscular blockade may predispose them to severe hyperkalemia and cardiac arrest following administration of SCh. SCh should be used with great caution in such patients.


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