The prevalence of hyperkalemia in the United States

Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2018 Jun;34(6):971-978


The retrospective study aimed to estimate prevalence of hyperkalemia using a large US commercial claims database.


Adults with serum potassium lab data (2010 to 2014) and ≥1 calendar year of data were included from a large US commercial claims database. Hyperkalemia was defined as ≥2 serum potassium measurements >5.0 mEq/L or one hyperkalemia diagnosis code (ICD-9-CM, 276.7) or one sodium polystyrene sulfonate fill. Hyperkalemia prevalence was estimated for the overall population and subgroups with hyperkalemia-related comorbidities by calendar year. Hyperkalemia prevalence was also standardized to the US population to estimate the number of US adults with hyperkalemia.


The analysis included 2,270,635 patients (2010-2014). The annual prevalence of hyperkalemia in the overall population was 1.57% in 2014, with higher rates observed in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. Among patients with CKD and/or heart failure, the 2014 annual prevalence was 6.35%. Among patients with hyperkalemia, 48.43% had CKD and/or heart failure in 2014. The prevalence of hyperkalemia was higher in patients with more severe CKD, as well as older patients and men. Extrapolating those results to the US population supports that 1.55% or 3.7 million US adults had hyperkalemia in 2014.


An estimated 3.7 million US adults had hyperkalemia in 2014, and this prevalence rate has increased since 2010. In patients with CKD and/or heart failure, the annual prevalence of hyperkalemia was 6.35% in 2014, and about half of all patients with hyperkalemia have either CKD and/or heart failure.

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Betts KA, Woolley JM, Mu F, McDonald E, Tang W, Wu EQ