In this course, we explain the basic physiological mechanisms regulating potassium concentration in the body fluid compartments. Abnormalities of extracellular fluid potassium concentration are common and in the absence of intervention are potentially lethal. We will also demonstrate the clinically important ECG manifestations of hyperkalemia

1.0 x AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
Available on the Pro Plan



In this course, we teach you the basic physiological mechanisms regulating potassium concentration in the body fluid compartments. Abnormalities of extracellular fluid potassium concentration are common and in the absence of intervention are potentially lethal. We will teach you a simple approach to remembering the extensive differential of hypokalemia and hyperkalemia. This approach is based on a knowledge of the basic physiology of potassium homeostasis in the body. You will learn the clinically important ECG manifestations of hyperkalemia.


Planner and Author: Dr John Seery MB PhD

  • Consultant Physician at St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Studied medicine at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • A Natural Sciences graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • PhD in Cell Biology from University College London, United Kingdom

Planner: Dr Karen Strahan PhD (University of Cambridge), Head of Editorial
Planner: Tommy O'Sullivan, CME Manager

Estimated Time to Complete

1.0 hours

Target Audience

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Paramedics

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Explain the factors dictating potassium concentration in the extracellular fluid
  • Consider an extensive differential in a patient presenting with either hypokalemia or hyperkalemia
  • Identify the ECG changes associated with hyperkalemia
  • Avoid unnecessary investigation in a patient presenting with a clinically obvious cause of hypokalemia 

Course Content

  • Introduction
  • Potassium - Distribution
  • Potassium - Homeostasis
  • Hyperkalemia - Causes
  • Hyperkalemia - ECG Changes
  • Hypokalemia - Causes Part 1
  • Hypokalemia - Causes Part 2
  • Quiz
  • Essential Reading

Release date


Expiration date


Instructions for Participation

Participants must complete the online activity during the valid period as noted above.
Follow these steps:

  1. View videos in sequence
  2. Read the papers on the essential reading list
  3. Complete the quiz
  4. Complete the activity evaluation form to provide feedback for continuing education purposes and for the development of future activities
  5. Download the Certificate of Completion

Relevant Financial Disclosures

Acadoodle adheres to the ACCME's Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity, including faculty, planners, reviewers or others are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Planners and faculty for this activity have no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests to disclose.


Greenlee M et al. Narrative Review: Evolving Concepts in Potassium Homeostasis and Hypokalemia. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(9):619-25.

Montford JR and Linas S. How Dangerous is Hyperkalemia? J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017;28(11):3155-65. 

Kovesdy CP. Updates in hyperkalemia: Outcomes and therapeutic startegies. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2017;18(1):41-7.

Weiss JJN et al. The Electrophysiology of Hypo- and Hyperkalemia. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2017;10(3):e004667.

Hyperkalemia: pathophysiology, risk factors and consequences. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2019;34(Suppl 3):iii2-iii11.

Seery JP and Ryan J. 5 ECG changes of Hyperkalemia You Need to Know. acadoodle.com

Additional Reading

Weaver WF and Burchell HB. Serum Potassium and the Electrocardiogram in Hypokalemia. Circulation. 1960;21:505-21.

ACCME Accreditation Statement

Acadoodle, Ltd is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

AMA Physician’s Recognition Award

Acadoodle, Ltd designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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