Dealing with seasonal pseudohypokalemia in paediatric patients due to high ambient temperature in tropical climate: A laboratory perspective
Introduction: During summer 2015, we had observed a significant rise in incidence of hypokalemia in comparison to winter 2014-2015. We speculated these findings might have occurred as a result of delay in centrifugation during which the samples were exposed to the high ambient temperature. So we took up the study to find out whether reducing the time period between venipuncture and centrifugation can be of any help to reduce the magnitude of incidence of pseudohypokalemia during summer months.
Materials and Methods: We reduced the time between venipuncture and serum separation to less than thirty minutes for all the samples received at the laboratory in the year 2015-2016.
Estimation of serum potassium was done within thirty minutes of serum separation.
Result: In the year 2014- 2015 the difference between proportion of hypokalemia in summer and winter was statistically significant (p<0> Conclusion: The laboratory people should be aware of the fact that delays in sample centrifugation and estimation of serum potassium results in spuriously low serum potassium value at high ambient temperature. Reducing the time of serum separation and estimation of serum potassium to within one hour can solve the problem of pseudohypokalemia and thereby improve the patient management.
Keywords: Seasonal pseudohypokalemia, Tropical climate, High ambient temperature, Paediatric patients.