Fatal dysrhythmia following potassium replacement for hypokalemic periodic paralysis

West J Emerg Med. 2010 Feb;11(1):57-9.

Abstract

We present a case of fatal rebound hyperkalemia in a patient with thyrotoxic periodic paralysis (TPP) treated with potassium supplementation. Although TPP is a rare hyperthyroidism-related endocrine disorder seen predominantly in men of Asian origin, the diagnosis should be considered in patients of non-Asian origins presenting with hypokalemia, muscle weakness or acute paralysis. The condition may present as a life threatening emergency and unfamiliarity with the disease could result in a fatal outcome. Immediate therapy with potassium chloride supplementation may foster a rapid recovery of muscle strength and prevent cardiac arrhythmias secondary to hypokalemia, but with a risk of rebound hyperkalemia.