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Extremely high levels of potassium in the blood (severe hyperkalemia) can lead to cardiac arrest and death. When not recognized and treated properly, severe hyperkalemia results in a high mortality rate. Technically, hyperkalemia means an abnormally elevated level of potassium in the blood.Why does hyperkalemia cause cardiac arrest?
Hyperkalemic Cardiac Arrest During Anesthesia. Nerve cell, skeletal muscle cell, as well as myocardial muscle cell excitability, are influenced by serum potassium levels, and elevated serum potassium levels (hyperkalemia) reduce the electrical potential of these cells leading to cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.What effect does hyperkalemia have on cardiac muscle?
While mild hyperkalemia probably has a limited effect on the heart, moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes (EKG is a reading of the electrical activity of the heart muscles), and severe hyperkalemia can cause suppression of electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to stop beating.