Ventricular arrhythmias and serum potassium: is there a correlation in the arrhythmic patient?1
Robert Detrano, M.D., Ph.D.
James Maloney, M.D.
Judy Leatherman, B.S.
Twenty-four hour electrocardiographic (ECG) recordings of 50 normokalemic patients with documented repetitive ventricular arrhythmias were reviewed retrospectively for the incidence and frequency of premature ventricular contractions, ventricular couplets, and runs of ventricular tachycardia. Serum potassium levels obtained in close temporal proximity to these recordings were examined. Only single premature ventricular beats correlated with low-normal serum potassium, and there was no association between repetitive ventricular ectopy and serum potassium level. Though serum potassium variations in the normokalemic range were not related to arrhythmia frequency, prospective studies of larger groups of patients are indicated.