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High Potassium Levels

Sep 6, 2002

Hi Doc, Two days ago i had my monthly bloods taken to measure VL and CD4 count. Today i received a call from my health care worker asking me to return on monday to have more blood taken as one of the tests revealed elevated potassium levels (5.9). I'm not sure what these levels mean or if they are related to my HIV status.

For your information, i have been pos for a year and have a high VL (300,000+) and CD4 count 315. I'm not currently taking meds. Your thoughts are appreciated. Craig.

Response from Dr. Little

It almost certainly has nothing to do with HIV. In fact the most common cause for an elevated potassium level in someone without kidney problems is that the blood was "hemolyzed" during collection. This means that the blood was drawn out into the vacuum collection tube so rapidly that many red blood cells burst and this causes the potassium level to go up. It does not sound like anything to be concerned about unless you have had a history of kidney problems.

More infectious than blood?

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