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Hypokalaemia in children with asthma treated with nebulised salbutamol
  1. Stan Hartman1,
  2. Peter Merkus2,
  3. Machiel Maseland3,
  4. Lian Roovers4,
  5. Petra van Setten1
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, The Netherlands
  4. 4Clinical Research Department, Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Petra van Setten, Department of Pediatrics, Rijnstate Hospital, Wagnerlaan 55, Arnhem 6815 AD, The Netherlands; pvansetten{at}

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Nebulised salbutamol, widely used as rescue asthma therapy, is associated with hypokalaemia. In children, only a few case reports and clinical trials showed an incidence of hypokalaemia ([K+] of <3.5 mmol/L) ranging from 36.9% to 82.3%. [K+] of <3.0 mmol/L is reported in 0%–17.6%.1–3 The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of hypokalaemia in children with asthma frequently nebulised with salbutamol; and to identify subgroups who are more prone to develop hypokalaemia.

In our retrospective observational study, we included children diagnosed and treated for acute asthma with nebulised salbutamol according to our national paediatric guideline4 and [K+] measurement during admission (n=279). Clinical and physical data, supplementation …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Local feasibility committee Rijnstate Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.