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A comparative study of the prevalence of hyperkalemia with the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors versus angiotensin receptor blockers

Authors Sadjadi SA, McMillan JI, Jaipaul N, Blakely P, Hline S

Published 10 July 2009 Volume 2009:5 Pages 547—552


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Seyed Ali Sadjadi1, James I McMillan1, Navin Jaipaul1, Patricia Blakely1, Su Su Hline2

1Section of Nephrology (111N), Jerry L Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 2Divison of Nephrology, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA

Background and objectives: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) are increasingly used in a variety of settings including heart failure, renal failure, arterial hypertension, and diabetic nephropathy. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of hyperkalemia with ACEI and ARB use, in a population of the United States veterans.

Design, settings, material, and measurements: Retrospective observational cohort study of 1163 patients on ACEIs and 1168 patients on ARBs in a single Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Electronic medical records were reviewed over a 12-month period with data collected on various demographic, laboratory, comorbidity, and medication related variables.

Results: Hyperkalemia (>5 mEq/L) was observed in 20.4% of patients on ACEIs and 31.0% on ARBs. Severe hyperkalemia (6 mEq/L or higher), was observed in 0.8% of ACEI and 2.8% of ARB users. In univariate logistic regression analyses, diabetes mellitus; serum glucose, total carbon dioxide content, creatinine, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) were significantly associated with hyperkalemia. ARB use, when compared to ACEI, was associated with a 42% increase in odds of hyperkalemia (odds ratio [OR] = 1.42; p = 0.001) in a model including adjustment for GFR and a 56% increase in odds of hyperkalemia (OR = 1.56; p < 0.001) in a model including adjustment for serum creatinine.

Conclusions: Hyperkalemia, associated with the use of ACEIs and ARBs, is usually mild and severe hyperkalemia is rare. Hyperkalemia is more common with ARBs than ACEIs. ARB use, when compared to ACEI use, may significantly and independently be associated with increased odds of hyperkalemia.

Keywords: hyperkalemia, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers

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