Electrolytes Question #29


A client has a serum potassium level of 6.0 mEq/L. Which health problem should the nurse attribute to this electrolyte value?


  1. Acute renal failure.
    • Rationale:
  2. Malabsorption syndrome.
    • Rationale:
  3. Nasogastric drainage.
    • Rationale:
  4. Laxative abuse
    • Rationale:



The correct answer is A. A serum potassium level of 6.0 mEq/L is associated with acute renal failure. Malabsorption syndrome, nasogastric drainage, and laxative abuse may cause a low serum potassium level because output may be greater than input. Diarrhea results in malabsorption syndrome and can occur with laxative abuse. Fluids and electrolytes may be lost in the nasogastric drainage. A normal serum potassium level is between 3.5 to 5.5 mEq/L.

NCLEX TIP: Using critical thinking is recommended when reading priority questions. Recognizing key words in the answer choices will allow you to know how to choose the correct answer for the question. Go through each answer choice and decide is it: Maslow’s hierarchy, safety-related, or following the nursing process (ADPIE). Never complete a nursing action that is outside the scope of practice.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

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