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Pseudo-electrolyte Disorders in Patients with Cancer: When Seeing Is Not Believing

  • 1 Insara Jaffer Sathick, MBBS, MRCP, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Aisha Shaikh, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Renal Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
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Pseudo-electrolyte disorders are laboratory artifacts, and failure to recognize this entity can lead to inadvertent treatment. The hallmark of pseudo-electrolyte disorders is that the patient does not exhibit classic signs or symptoms of the underlying electrolyte abnormality. This should prompt clinicians to rule out pseudo-electrolyte disorders before initiating therapy. Here, we highlight pseudo-electrolyte disorders seen in onconephrology practice.

Pseudo-hyponatremia

A falsely low sodium level is seen in conditions that reduce the water content of a given volume of plasma, such as 1) severe hyperproteinemia due to paraproteinemia, hypergammaglobulinemia, or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) administration; 2) severe hyperlipidemia due to

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