Electrolyte and acid-base disturbances are common occurrences in daily clinical practice. Although these abnormalities can be readily ascertained from routine laboratory findings, only specific clinical correlates may attest as to their significance. Among a wide phenotypic spectrum, acute electrolyte and acid-base disturbances may affect the peripheral nervous system as arreflexic weakness (hypermagnesemia, hyperkalemia, and hypophosphatemia), the central nervous system as epileptic encephalopathies (hypomagnesemia, dysnatremias, and hypocalcemia), or both as a mixture of encephalopathy and weakness or paresthesias (hypocalcemia, alkalosis). Disabling complications may develop not only when these derangements are overlooked and left untreated (e.g., visual loss from intracranial hypertension in respiratory or metabolic acidosis; quadriplegia with respiratory insufficiency in hypermagnesemia) but also when they are inappropriately managed (e.g., central pontine myelinolisis when rapidly correcting hyponatremia; cardiac arrhythmias when aggressively correcting hypo- or hyperkalemia). Therefore prompt identification of the specific neurometabolic syndromes is critical to correct the causative electrolyte or acid-base disturbances and prevent permanent central or peripheral nervous system injury. This chapter reviews the pathophysiology, clinical investigations, clinical phenotypes, and current management strategies in disorders resulting from alterations in the plasma concentration of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus as well as from acidemia and alkalemia.
Keywords: Neurometabolic syndromes; acidosis/academia; alkalemia; dysnatremias; electrolyte disorders; hyperkalemia; hypermagnesesmia; hypocalcemia/alkalosis; hypokalemia; hypomagnesemia; hypophosphatemia.
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