Background: The effectiveness of the clinical strategy of empiric potassium supplementation in reducing the frequency of adverse clinical outcomes in patients receiving loop diuretics is unknown. We sought to examine the association between empiric potassium supplementation and 1) all-cause death and 2) outpatient-originating sudden cardiac death (SD) and ventricular arrhythmia (VA) among new starters of loop diuretics, stratified on initial loop diuretic dose. Methods: We conducted a one-to-one propensity score-matched cohort study using 1999-2007 US Medicaid claims from five states. Empiric potassium supplementation was defined as a potassium prescription on the day of or the day after the initial loop diuretic prescription. Death, the primary outcome, was ascertained from the Social Security Administration Death Master File; SD/VA, the secondary outcome, from incident, first-listed emergency department or principal inpatient SD/VA discharge diagnoses (positive predictive value = 85%). Results: We identified 654,060 persons who met eligibility criteria and initiated therapy with a loop diuretic, 27% of whom received empiric potassium supplementation (N = 179,436) and 73% of whom did not (N = 474,624). The matched hazard ratio for empiric potassium supplementation was 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.89-0.98, p = 0.003) for all-cause death. Stratifying on initial furosemide dose, hazard ratios for empiric potassium supplementation with furosemide <40 and ≥40 milligrams/day were 0.93 (0.86-1.00, p = 0.050) and 0.84 (0.79-0.89, p<0.0001). The matched hazard ratio for empiric potassium supplementation was 1.02 (0.83-1.24, p = 0.879) for SD/VA. Conclusions: Empiric potassium supplementation upon initiation of a loop diuretic appears to be associated with improved survival, with a greater apparent benefit seen with higher diuretic dose. If confirmed, these findings support the use of empiric potassium supplementation upon initiation of a loop diuretic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)