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Spurious Electrolyte and Acid-Base Disorders in the Patient With Cancer


Severe electrolyte disorders are common in patients with malignancy and can occur because of cancer itself or as a result of the therapeutic strategies employed to treat patients. We present an expanded narrative review of various pseudo-electrolyte disorders that have the potential to confound clinicians caring for patients with cancer and provide a guide for anticipating spurious interpretations and avoiding pitfalls.


Electrolyte abnormalities are commonly encountered in patients with cancer, and spurious laboratory results can lead to incorrect decisions concerning additional diagnostics and treatment. Spurious electrolyte disorders must always be considered part of the differential diagnosis of an electrolyte anomaly, particularly in cancer patients. As we have reviewed, erroneous measurements of sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, and the anion gap can arise. It is important to validate that any medically important abnormal value is a factitious disorder before dismissing it. Ultimately, awareness and recognition of spurious electrolyte disorders can prevent unnecessary and harmful treatments.

From The Article

Spurious Electrolyte and Acid-Base Disorders in the Patient With Cancer: A Review


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