Article: Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis: an unusual presentation of hyperthyroidism (abstract) - October 2017 - NJM
Issue: 2017 > October > review

Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis: an unusual presentation of hyperthyroidism



REVIEW
M. Salih, C.M.J. van Kinschot, R.P. Peeters, W.W. de Herder, E.J.J. Duschek, J. van der Linden, C. van Noord
AbstractFull textPDF

Abstract

Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis (TPP) is a complication of hyperthyroidism among Asians, characterised by sudden onset of hypokalaemia and muscle paralysis. Several factors may contribute to a delay in diagnosis, including the subtlety of hyperthyroidism, the transient nature of the events and the rarity of this disease in the West. As life-threatening arrhythmias may occur during an attack, awareness among physicians is necessary for early recognition and treatment. Advances have been made in understanding the pathophysiological mechanism leading to hypokalaemia, which include recently identified mutations of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel Kir2.6. Treatment includes the supplementation of potassium, a nonselective beta-blocker, and ultimately treatment of the underlying hyperthyroidism. Here we report three cases of TPP in the Netherlands, and review the literature on clinical features, pathophysiological hypothesis and treatment.