A patient with a potassium level of 2.9 mEq/L is prescribed potassium chloride, 40 mEq IV. The patient only has a peripheral IV. The nurse should administer this medication:


•Be careful when you see order for potassium chloride given IV. Too high a dose will lead to lethal cardiac arrhythmia, but even lower doses can cause phlebitis. The concentration and rate need to be appropriate for the IV route.

•Potassium chloride should be administered at a rate of 10 mEq per hour (4 hours for the dose ordered in the question) when using a peripheral IV to reduce site irritation. 20 mEq per hour is appropriate for a central line.

•Potassium administered at a rate exceeding 40 mEq per hour may result in lethal arrhythmias.

•A central venous access is not needed at 10 mEq per hour.

•Incorrect: Lidocaine should only be given IV to treat lethal ventricular arrhythmias.

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