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Electrolyte Disturbances in SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Holly Mabillard, Professor John SayerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright: © 2020 Mabillard H and Sayer JA.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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mabillard H, Sayer JA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: F1000Research

Year: 2020

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 10/06/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2046-1402

Publisher: NLM (Medline)


DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.24441.2

PubMed id: 33093945

Notes: Previously titled: SARS-CoV-2 and hypokalaemia: evidence and implications