Paramedic management of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest secondary to hyperkalaemia

Hyperkalaemia is a potentially life-threatening metabolic emergency and is the most common electrolyte disorder associated with death. The author attended an incident where a patient suffered asystolic cardiac arrest from hyperkalaemia and was subsequently resuscitated successfully to hospital discharge with good neurological outcome. This piece intends to review all relevant available literature with the aim of developing recommendations to aid paramedics in managing cardiac arrest secondary to Hyperkalaemia. Despite the lack of current good-quality evidence for pharmacological interventions, systematic reviews available have led to the development of clear guidelines. The use of calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate is recommended, and these are both carried by Critical Care Paramedics (CCPs). Salbutamol therapy has the strongest evidence base of any intervention available out of hospital. It should be considered after the use of the aforementioned medications if the patient achieves ROSC. Consideration must also be taken as to whether the patient would benefit from being moved to hospital to reach vital interventions such as insulin/dextrose therapy and dialysis.

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