Hyperkalemia in heart failure: current treatment and new therapeutic perspectives

Chiara Minà, Laura Ajello, Gabriele Di Gesaro, Calogero Falletta, Francesco Clemenza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hyperkalemia in heart failure is a condition that can occur with relative frequency because it is related to pathophysiological aspects of the disease, and favored by drugs that form the basis of chronic cardiac failure therapy. Often, associated comorbidities, such as kidney failure or diabetes mellitus can further adversely affect potassium levels. Hyperkalemia can result in acute and even severe clinical manifestations that put patients at risk. On the other hand, the finding of hyperkalemia in a chronic context can lead to a reduction in dosages or to suspension of drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzymes inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker, angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor, and mineralcorticoid receptor antagonist, first line in the treatment of the disease, with negative effects in prognostic terms. Therapies for the correction of hyperkalemia have so far mainly concerned the treatment of acute clinical pictures. Newly developed molecules, such as patiromer or sodium zirconium cyclosilicate, now open new prospectives in the long-term management of hyperkalemia, and allow us to glimpse the possibility of a better titration of the cardinal drugs for heart failure, with consequent positive effects on patient prognosis. The aim of this review is to focus on the problem of hyperkalemia in the setting of heart failure, with particular regard to its incidence, its prognostic role, and the underlining pathophysiological mechanisms. The review also provides an overview of therapeutic strategies for correcting hyperkalemia in acute and chronic conditions, with a focus on the new potassium binders that promise to improve management of heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages12
JournalReviews in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2020


  • Animals
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Cardiovascular Agents/adverse effects
  • Chelating Agents/adverse effects
  • Heart Failure/blood
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia/blood
  • Incidence
  • Potassium/blood
  • Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Up-Regulation
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance/drug effects


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