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May 28, 1982

Potassium Chloride Therapy

JAMA. 1982;247(20):2780-2781. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320450018018

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To the Editor.—  In the QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS section (1981;246:2501) Drs Bia and DeFronzo recommended that the femoral vein be used when a high amount of potassium chloride must be infused in a minimal amount of fluid. Furthermore, they thought it unsafe to administer large potassium loads via a central line that empties directly into the right atrium.For the past 12 or more years, I and my intensive care unit (ICU) colleagues have routinely administered concentrated solutions of potassium chloride through a central venous catheter or central venous port of a pulmonary artery catheter to correct or maintain serum potassium levels within normal limits. From 80 to 120 mEq of potassium chloride in 250 mL of 5% dextrose in water or normal saline is passed through a catheter with a double-clamp technique and infused at a rate that delivers up to 20 mEq/hr. Usually 8 to 15 mEq/hr is