PMID: 2953772Jun 1, 1987Paper

Myocardial potassium loss after acute coronary occlusion in humans

Journal of the American College of Cardiology
S C WebbP A Poole-Wilson


Animal studies have established that there is a rapid increase in extracellular potassium concentration in myocardial tissue after the onset of ischemia. To study this phenomenon in humans, coronary sinus plasma potassium concentration was measured in five patients undergoing therapeutic coronary angioplasty. Recordings were obtained during a total of 22 coronary artery occlusions lasting between 5 and 50 seconds. Though little change was observed during angioplasty balloon inflation, all occlusions that lasted more than 15 seconds were followed by a transient elevation in coronary sinus potassium concentration of between 0.18 and 1.55 mmol X liter-1. The majority of occlusions (n = 17) were not accompanied by chest pain, electrocardiographic (ECG) changes or alteration of heart rate. The increase in coronary sinus potassium concentration after angioplasty balloon deflation is attributable to a washout of accumulated extracellular potassium during reperfusion. Redistribution of human myocardial potassium occurs within 15 seconds of the onset of myocardial ischemia and may be an important factor accounting for early electrophysiologic changes.


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