Potassium disorders have been linked to adverse outcomes in various medical conditions. However, the association of preoperative serum potassium with postoperative outcome is not well established. We aimed to examine the association between preoperative potassium with a 30-day mortality and adverse cardiovascular event (MACE).
We conducted a cohort study using a prospectively collected database of patients, undergoing surgical procedures from 1998 to 2013 in the VA Western New York Healthcare System, which are reported to the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP). The patients were categorized into three groups based on their documented preoperative potassium concentrations. Hypokalemia was defined as serum potassium concentration <4 mmol/L and hyperkalemia was defined as serum potassium concentrations >5.5 mmol/L. The values within the range of 4.0–5.5 mmol/L were considered as normokalemia and used as the control group. Statistical analyses included Chi-square test, analysis of variance and multivariate logistic regression to estimate the risk of MACE within 30 days of surgery.
Study included 5959 veterans who underwent surgery between 1998 and 2013. The patients in the hyperkalemics group had lower kidney function compared to the other two groups. The frequency of MACE was 13.6% in hypokalemics and 21.9% in hyperkalemics that were both significantly higher than 4.9% in controls. In multivariate logistic regression the hazard risk (HR) ratios of MACE were (2.17, 95% CI 1.75–2.70) for hypokalemics and (3.23, 95% CI 2.10–4.95) for hyperkalemics when compared to normokalemic controls.
Preoperative hypokalemia and hyperkalemia are both independent predictors of MACE within 30 days.