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Brief Communication October 1997, Volume 11 Issue 7: 573-577

Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulphonate) in sorbitol associated with intestinal necrosis in uremic patients

GW Gardiner

BACKGROUND: Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulphonate) in sorbitol is commonly used to treat hyperkalemia in patients with renal insufficiency. Isolated case reports and one recent large series have documented intestinal necrosis following administration of kayexalate in sorbitol.
METHODS: Two patients with luminal kayexalate crystals associated with intestinal pathology were first identified in the pathology department, and clinicopathological correlation was carried out.
RESULTS: Both patients were seriously ill, had prior cardiac surgery and were in renal failure (uremic). Examination of autopsy and colonic resection showed luminal kayexalate crystals associated with underlying mucosal necrosis, submucosal edema and transmural inflammation.
CONCLUSION: Although occurring in complex clinical settings, the pathological findings provide additional evidence that kayexalate in sorbitol may be associated with intestinal necrosis and inflammation in uremic patients and that this may be a clinically and pathologically under-recognized iatrogenic bowel injury.

Intestinal necrosis | Kayexalate | Renal failure | Sodium polystyrene sulphonate | Sorbitol | Uremia
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