The relationship between potassium levels and heart failure

A study finds that people with heart failure who also have abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood, also known as hyperkalemia, have a higher risk of heart failure readmission and death. The study, which was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, looked at whether hyperkalemia at admission predicts one-year outcomes in elderly patients admitted for acute heart failure.

  • Researchers from Spain recruited 2,865 older adults with heart failure from the RICA Spanish Heart Failure Registry, who were classified according to their levels of potassium.
  • The Spanish researchers, then, looked at whether their potassium levels were significantly associated with one-year all-cause mortality or hospital readmission and their combination.
  • At admission, 3.38 percent of patients had hyperkalemia and 6.06 percent had hypokalemia or abnormally low levels of potassium.
  • The results revealed that 43 percent of the participants died or were readmitted for heart failure during the follow-up period. The risk was also higher for those with abnormally high levels of potassium.
  • These results indicate that high potassium levels may be linked to poor health status in people with heart failure.

In conclusion, the findings suggest that previously hospitalized elderly due to heart failure are at a higher risk of being readmitted and dying due to heart failure if they also have abnormally high potassium levels.

To read more studies on the effects of potassium on the heart, visit

Journal Reference:

Formiga F, Chivite D, Corbella X, Conde-Martel A, Arevalo-Lorido JC, Trullàs JC, Silvestre JP, Garcia SC, Manzano L, Montero-Perez-Barquero M. INFLUENCE OF POTASSIUM LEVELS ON ONE-YEAR OUTCOMES IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH ACUTE HEART FAILURE. European Journal of Internal Medicine. February 2019; 60: 24-30. DOI:

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