Thyrotoxic Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis (THPP): a challenge for the Emergency Medicine physician in Western countries. A case report

  • F. Stella | lucia.zoppi@pagepress.org Internal Medicine 1, Department of Internal Medicine, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, ULSS 12 Veneziana, Venice, Italy, .
  • L. Gottardo Internal Medicine 1, Department of Internal Medicine, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, ULSS 12 Veneziana, Venice, Italy, .
  • M.T. Busetto Internal Medicine 1, Department of Internal Medicine, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, ULSS 12 Veneziana, Venice, Italy, .
  • S. Pianetti Internal Medicine 1, Department of Internal Medicine, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, ULSS 12 Veneziana, Venice, Italy, .
  • A. Semplicini Internal Medicine 1, Department of Internal Medicine, SS. Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, ULSS 12 Veneziana, Venice, Italy, .

Abstract

Thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis (THPP) is an endocrine emergency with sudden onset of acute muscle hypo-asthenia associated with severe hypokalemia and normal acid-base balance, due to thyrotoxicosis. It may develop in patients of Asian and Native American descent, but it is very rare and undiagnosed in Western countries. Standard treatment includes β-blockers and thyrostatic drugs, but hypokalemia should not be treated with high potassium doses due to the risk of hyperkalemic rebound. Since early diagnosis and correct treatment can prevent life-threatening cardio-pulmonary complications, the emergency physician should keep in mind this rare possibility. We report a case of a 43 year old Caucasian man presenting at ED with tetraparesis as the first symptom of thyrotoxicosis with no other remarkable symptoms or signs.

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Published
2012-03-02
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Case Reports
Keywords:
Thyrotoxic Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, Emergency Medicine, Western countries
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How to Cite
Stella, F., Gottardo, L., Busetto, M., Pianetti, S., & Semplicini, A. (2012). Thyrotoxic Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis (THPP): a challenge for the Emergency Medicine physician in Western countries. A case report. Emergency Care Journal, 8(1), 13-14. https://doi.org/10.4081/ecj.2012.1.13