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F1000Res . SARS-CoV-2 and hypokalaemia: evidence and implications

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  • F1000Res . SARS-CoV-2 and hypokalaemia: evidence and implications


    . 2020 Jun 10;9:587.
    doi: 10.12688/f1000research.24441.1. eCollection 2020.
    SARS-CoV-2 and hypokalaemia: evidence and implications

    Holly Mabillard 1 , John A Sayer 1 2 3



    The global pandemic secondary to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is leading to unprecedented global morbidity and mortality. With a bewildering array of complications, renal involvement in various forms is common, including serum electrolyte derangements. Hypokalaemia secondary to SARS-CoV-2 was common in a reported Chinese cohort. Here we review the emerging evidence on hypokalaemia and SARS-CoV-2 infection, the potential pathophysiological mechanisms based on early clinical and histopathological data and important clinical implications. Mechanisms of hypokalaemia are multifactorial and so the electrolyte disturbance can be difficult to avoid. We provide further support to the theory of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAS) activation, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of implicating RAS involvement and highlight the importance of calculating the transtubular potassium gradient to identify those at risk of hypokalaemia and its complications.

    Keywords: ACE-2; Hypokalaemia; SARS-CoV-2; alkalosis; transtubular potassium gradient.