Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(3):736-743. doi:10.7150/ijms.50965 This issue
1. Department of Cardiology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
2. Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
3. Department of Nephrology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
4. Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China
5. Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China
Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in more than 610,000 deaths worldwide since December 2019. Given the rapid deterioration of patients' condition before death, markers with efficient prognostic values are urgently required. During the treatment process, notable changes in plasma potassium levels have been observed among severely ill patients. We aimed to evaluate the association between average plasma potassium (Ka+) levels during hospitalization and 30-day mortality in patients with COVID-19.
Methods: Consecutive patients with COVID-19 hospitalized in the Zhongfaxincheng branch of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China from February 8 to 28, 2020 were enrolled in this study. We followed patients up to 30 days after admission.
Results: A total of 136 patients were included in the study. The average age was 62.1±14.6 years and 51.5% of patients were male. The median baseline potassium level was 4.3 (3.9-4.6) mmol/L and Ka+ level during hospitalization was 4.4 (4.2-4.7) mmol/L; the median number of times that we measured potassium was 4 (3-5). The 30-day mortality was 19.1%. A J-shaped association was observed between Ka+ and 30-day mortality. Multivariate Cox regression showed that compared with the reference group (Ka+ 4.0 to <4.5 mmol/L), 30-day mortality was 1.99 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.54-7.35, P=0.300), 1.14 (95% CI=0.39-3.32, P=0.810), and 4.14 (95% CI=1.29-13.29, P=0.017) times higher in patients with COVID-19 who had Ka+ <4.0, 4.5 to <5.0, and ≥5.0 mmol/L, respectively.
Conclusion: Patients with COVID-19 who had a Ka+ level ≥5.0 mmol/L had a significantly increased 30-day mortality compared with those who had a Ka+ level 4.0 to <4.5 mmol/L. Plasma potassium levels should be monitored routinely and maintained within appropriate ranges in patients with COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19, Potassium, Mortality, Prognosis