Quote from Elyse545
So I wrote the question wrong. It wasn't a critical potassium. Obviously I would call on a critical potassium, I'm not sure why I used that word. It was a high potassium but it wasn't critical. I am tired, it has been a really long week.
Because potassium doesn't have a lot of wiggle room before encountering cardiac problems, I tend to have a low threshold for reporting K values, even when they are not critical. The exceptions are if patient is on a high dose furosemide and the provider is already aware levels are low and actively replacing... or if they're end stage renal patients and getting dialysis. Then I may call only if it's below 3.2 or above 5.4ish.
Just the other day, I had a patient with a K of 5.6 (high cutoff is 5.1 at my hospital, critical I believe is 6?). The patient was on K replacement TID. I questioned the day nurse on it, and she didn't have an answer so I called the provider. It turned out that the provider just somehow missed the result. The patient ended up getting furosemide, a fluid bolus, an EKG, and a K recheck later that night. The physician was appreciative that I called him.
When in doubt, call the doc, especially on K!