Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis is an acute endocrine emergency characterized by hyperthyroidism, profound muscle weakness and/or paralysis, and hypokalemia that is not due to potassium deficiency. Typically described in young males of Asian descent, it is becoming increasingly recognized outside of this demographic group and is believed to be an underrecognized cause of symptomatic hypokalemia. Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis usually manifests as acute onset of symmetrical distal extremity weakness and is treated with careful potassium replacement and nonselective β-blockers. In this case, a 43-year-old African American woman with thyrotoxic periodic paralysis had recurrent lower extremity myopathy and acute respiratory failure precipitated by noncompliance with treatment for Graves disease.
Cases of Note| May 01 2015
A Case of Thyrotoxic Periodic Paralysis With Respiratory Failure in an African American Woman
Denise L. Shields, MSN, ACNP-BC, CRNP
Denise L. Shields is an acute care nurse practitioner at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton Township, New Jersey.
Corresponding author: Denise L. Shields, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, 1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton Township, NJ 08690 (e-mail: DeniseShields@verizon.net).
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Am J Crit Care (2015) 24 (3): 264–267.
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Denise L. Shields; A Case of Thyrotoxic Periodic Paralysis With Respiratory Failure in an African American Woman. Am J Crit Care 1 May 2015; 24 (3): 264–267. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2015910
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