The objective of this study was to determine the safety of performing exercise stress testing in patients with abnormal serum potassium concentrations. Data were reviewed from 9,084 patients (mean age 63 ± 12 years) referred for exercise echocardiography who had serum potassium measured <48 hours before the test were reviewed, and the occurrence of arrhythmias during stress testing was determined. Of 10,272 studies, 9,067 (88%) were in patients with normokalemia and 1,205 (12%) were in patients with abnormal serum potassium concentrations: 309 (26%) with hypokalemia (mean 3.4 ± 0.16 mmol/L) and 896 (74%) with hyperkalemia (mean 5.1 ± 0.19 mmol/L). Ventricular and supraventricular ectopy were common during exercise. Only 1 patient (potassium 4.9 mmol/L) had sustained ventricular tachycardia; all other episodes were nonsustained. Although ventricular and supraventricular ectopy are common during exercise testing, life-threatening arrhythmias are not. Exercise testing is generally safe despite mild to moderate hypokalemia or hyperkalemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine