Nightmares Case 7: Hyperkalemia

This is the seventh in a case series we will be publishing that make up “The Nightmares Course”.

The Nightmares Course at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) was developed in 2011 by Drs. Dan Howes and Mike O’Connor. The course emerged organically in response to requests from first year residents wanting more training in the response to acutely unwell patients. In 2014, Dr. Tim Chaplin took over as the course director and has expanded the course to include first year residents from 14 programs and to provide both formative feedback and summative assessment. The course involves 4 sessions between August and November and a summative OSCE in December. Each session involves 4-5 residents and covers 3 simulated scenarios that are based on common calls to the floor. The course has been adapted for use at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Calgary.

Why it Matters

The first few months of residency can be a stressful time with long nights on call and the adjustment to a new level of responsibility. While help should always be available, the first few minutes of managing a decompensating patient is something all junior residents must be competent at. This case series will help to accomplish that through simulation.

Clinical Vignette

You’ve been called to assess a 67M on the general medical floor. He was admitted 3 days ago for a community acquired pneumonia and is now awaiting discharge home once out-patient services can be put in place. He was noted to be hypokalemic on labs this morning (3.2 mEq/L) and the daytime resident ordered KCl 10mEq in 100cc NS bolus, to be given once. On her initial assessment, the overnight nurse found that he was actually placed on an infusion over the last 10 hours and the patient is now confused and bradycardic.

Case Summary

This case involves the diagnosis and management of hyperkalemia. If not treated appropriately the patient will progress to ventricular fibrillation arrest.

Download here

Nightmares Hyperkalemia

EKG for the Case



Source for both ECGs:

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