Published: 2021-07-23

Study of hypokalemia and correlation with severity of disease in patients with COVID-19 positive severe acute respiratory illness and COVID-19 negative severe acute respiratory illness

Talavara Mahendra, Madhumathi R., Supriyaa Bhakthavatchalam B., Siddesh N. Nijaguna


Background: Although the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is creating a major global health crisis, the risk factors for mortality and the detailed clinical course of disease has not yet established. Clinical spectrum of the disease varies from mild symptoms to ARDS. The main objective of this study was to determine hypokalemia and correlation of severity of disease with hypokalemia in patients with COVID-19 positive SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) and COVID-19 negative SARI patients.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional study conducted on 265 SARI patients who were admitted in hospitals attached to BMCRI from April 2019 to December 2019. History was taken, general and systemic examination was done. Patients were categorized and selected patients with moderate and severe illness. RT-PCR for COVID-19 patients done using throat and nasal swab. Potassium levels were estimated and correlated with severity of illness in patients with COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative status.

Results: The study included 265 SARI patients, of which 135 were COVID-19 positive patients and 130 were COVID-19 negative. Patients categorized into moderate and severe SARI. Mean age of subjects with COVD-19 positive (severe) was higher, 58.70±15.598 followed by COVID-19 positive (moderate), 55.13±14.480. About 30% (N=90) belonged to severe SARI group, Chi square test showed statistical significant association with respect to age. In this study there was no statistically significant hypokalemia found between COVID-19 positive SARI patients (N=20, 14.81%) and COVID-19 negative SARI patients (N=17, 13.07%). However hypokalemia COVID-19 positive SARI patients 14.81% (N=20) and COVID-19 negative SARI patients 13.07% (N=17). And also there is no statistically significant hypokalemia between SARI severe and SARI moderate cases.

Conclusions: However in this study there is no statistically significant hypokalemia found between COVID-19 positive SARI patients and COVID-19 negative SARI patients. And also there is not statistically significant hypokalemia between SARI severe and SARI moderate cases. Hypokalemia is found in both in both COVID-19 positive SARI patients and COVID-19 negative SARI patients and relatively more in COVID-19 positive patients. Hypokalemia is one of the treatable condition and early detection and treatment reduces mortality.


SARI, COVID-19, Hypokalemia

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