What is the role of hypokalemia in cholera?

Updated: Feb 03, 2021
  • Author: Sajeev Handa, MBBCh, BAO, LRCSI, LRCPI; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Hypokalemia results from potassium loss in the stool, with a mean potassium concentration of approximately 3.0 mmol/L. Because of the existing acidosis, however, children often have normal serum potassium concentrations when first observed, despite severe total body potassium depletion.

Hypokalemia develops only after the acidosis is corrected and intracellular hydrogen ions are exchanged for extracellular potassium. Hypokalemia is most severe in children with preexisting malnutrition who have diminished body stores of potassium and may be manifested as paralytic ileus.


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