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A potassium test checks how much potassium is in your child's blood or urine. Potassium helps keep the body's water and electrolytes in balance. It's also important in how nerves, heart, and muscles work.
Your child’s doctor may ask for a urine or blood sample to test potassium levels. It can be checked in a single urine sample. But it's more often measured in a 24-hour urine sample.
A blood or urine test for potassium may be done to:
A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.
A urine test can be done using a single urine sample or urine collected over 24 hours. A single urine sample may be taken at a health professional's office or at home. A 24-hour sample is done at home.
If the container has a lid, remove the lid and set it down with the inner surface up.
After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the collection container in the stream. Collect about 60 mL (2 fl oz) of this "midstream" urine without stopping the flow. Don't touch the rim of the container to your child's genital area.
You child's urine is collected for a period of time, such as over 4 or 24 hours. Your doctor will give you a large container that holds about 4 L (1 gal). You will use the container to collect your child's urine.
But don't save this urine. Write down the time your child urinated.
Each time your child urinates during this time period, collect the urine in a small, clean container. Then pour the urine into the large container. Don't touch the inside of either container with your fingers.
Add this urine to the large container. Then write down the time.
A blood test or one-time urine collection will probably take a few minutes. Or you may collect your child's urine over a period of 24 hours.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.
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Adaptation Date: 5/5/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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