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Potassium - urine
Alternative namesUrine potassium
DefinitionThe potassium urine test measures the amount of potassium in the urine.
How the test is performedA spot urine potassium or a 24-hour urine potassium sample may be performed.
Your health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to discontinue drugs that may interfere with the test. A 24-hour urine collection is usually performed as follows:
This procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag, causing the specimen to be absorbed by the diaper. The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. The urine is drained into the container for transport to the laboratory.
How to prepare for the testNo special preparation is necessary for this test, but if the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.
How the test will feelThis test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the test is performedThis test is usually performed to detect or confirm the presence of conditions that affect body fluids (for example, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea) or disorders of the kidneys or adrenal glands , which are the source of aldosterone. For more information see the aldosterone test.
The serum (blood) and urine potassium depend on many factors. Aldosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a major role in regulating potassium levels within the body. Aldosterone increases the loss of potassium in the kidneys. Potassium is also affected by acid/base balance because potassium exchanges with hydrogen, to some extent, across cell membranes.
Normal ValuesThe usual range for a person on a regular diet is 25 to 120 mEq/L/day. However, lower or higher urinary levels may occur depending on dietary potassium intake and the relative amount of potassium in the body. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories.
Note: mEq/L = milliequivalents per liter
What abnormal results mean
Greater-than-normal urine potassium levels may indicate:
What the risks areThere are no risks.
Special considerationsDeficient or excessive amounts of potassium in the diet may affect test results.
Drugs that can increase urine potassium measurements include diuretics, glucocorticoids, certain antibiotics, and NSAIDS.
Update Date: 2/11/2004Irfan A. Agha, M.D., Department of Medicine, Renal Division, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT