Hyperkalemia-induced acute flaccid paralysis: a case report

Abstract

Acute flaccid paralysis is a medical emergency that may be caused by primary neuro-muscular disorders, metabolic alterations, and iatrogenic effects. Severe hyperkalemia is also a potential cause, especially in elderly patients with impaired renal function. Early diagnosis is essential for appropriate management.

Here, we report the case of a 78-year-old woman with hypertension and diabetes presenting to the emergency department because of pronounced asthenia, rapidly evolving in quadriparesis. Laboratory examinations showed severe hyperkalemia of 9.9 mmol/L, metabolic acidosis, kidney failure (creatinine 1.6 mg/dl), and hyperglycemia (501 mg/dl). The electrocardiography showed absent P-wave, widening QRS, and tall T-waves. The patient was immediately treated with medical therapy and a hemodialysis session, presenting a rapid resolution of electrocardiographic and neurological abnormalities. This case offers the opportunity to discuss the pathogenesis, the clinical presentation, and the management of hyperkalemia-induced acute flaccid paralysis.

Keywords: hyperkalemia, acute flaccid paralysis, hemodialysis, diabetes

Introduction

Hyperkalemia is associated with poor outcomes and a high mortality rate among the general population, and among patients with cardiac and renal disease [1,2]. Hyperkalemia-related clinical complications and deaths are determined mainly by the cardiac electrophysiological effects of elevated potassium levels [3]. Indeed, hyperkalemia may result in ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death. Moreover, hyperkalemia may also cause other physiologic perturbations, such as muscle weakness and paralysis, paraesthesia, and metabolic acidosis.

Here, we report a case of severe hyperkalemia presenting with dramatic neurological manifestations in the form of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP).

 

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Effect of hyperkalemia and RAASi nonadherence on patients affected by heart failure or chronic kidney disease

Abstract

The presence of hyperkalemia (HK) in patients with heart failure (HF)or chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases the risk of death. The aims of the present study have been: i) to evaluate if the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and mortality increases in two cohorts of patients with heart failure (HF) or chronic kidney disease (CKD) affected by hyperkalemia (HK) and treated with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASi). We have also evaluated the risk of dialysis among CKD patients; ii) to provide an estimate of the increased risk of CV events and mortality caused among HK patients by a non-optimal adherence to RAASi therapy in both HF and CKD cohorts.

This is a retrospective study, based on the administrative databases of five Italian Local Health Units. All patients ≥18-year-old discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of HF (ICD-9-CM 428) or CKD (ICD-9-CM585) between January 2010 and December 2017 were enrolled. We defined as index date (ID) the date of first diagnosis during the enrolment period. Only patients that were prescribed RAASi therapy during the first three months after the ID were considered. Serum potassium level was tested in the three months before and after ID. The patients were considered as having HK if they presented a serum potassium level ≥5.5 mmol/l. Results show that patients with HK treated with RAASi were respectively 46% (HF) and 31% (CKD) more at risk of CV events and 88% (HF) and 72% (CKD) more at risk of dying. Moreover, the risk of dialysis in CKD patients increased by 458%. After the onset of HK, non-optimal adherence to RAASi in patients with HK was found to increase notably the risk of CV events (65% HF, 34% CKD) and mortality (127% HF, 122% CKD) in both cohorts.

 

Keywords: hyperkalemia, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, drugs for hyperkalemia, real-world study

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Introduzione

L’iperkaliemia (IK) è un grave disordine elettrolitico, potenzialmente fatale, che si configura con un livello sierico di potassio ≥5.0 mmol/l, superiore al limite massimo del range standard (3.5-5.0 mmol/l) [1, 2]. Tuttavia in generale il quadro clinico si rende manifesto per valori ≥5.5 mmol/l.  

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Hyperkalemia treatment in chronic kidney disease patients: overview on new K binders and possible therapeutic approaches

Abstract

Hyperkalaemia is a common complication in patients with nondialysis Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It is associated with weakness, paralysis, arrhythmias and increased mortality. Higher serum potassium levels refractory to treatment is one of the most frequent reasons to initiate immediately renal replacement treatment in advanced stages of CKD. Hyperkalaemia is also indirectly associated with the progression of CKD; in fact higher serum potassium levels may lead to withdrawal of renin-angiotensin-system inhibiting drugs that currently represent the most effective tools to postpone ESRD. It is therefore essential to identify patients at higher risk of increase of serum K and to implement therapeutic interventions aimed at preventing and treating hyperkalaemia, such as diet modifications and greater use of diuretics and potassium binders. Sodium and calcium-polystyrenesulfonate (SPS) are the resins currently available in Italy. However, few studies showed that SPS is efficacious to reduce serum K and is associated with increased risk of severe adverse effects. Patiromer and ZS-9 represent a significant pharmacological progress in the treatment of hyperkalemia. Indeed, recent studies showed that these novel binders are efficient to reduce serum levels of K with minor occurrence of side effects than polystyrensulfonates. Furthermore, Patiromer, sodium free agent, might have a further advantage in CKD patients, reducing the salt intake in these patients. In addition, ZS-9, being fast-acting drug, might be used also in the treatment of acute hyperkalaemia.

Keywords: Hyperkalaemia, L binder, SPS, CPS, Patiromer, ZS-9

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L’iperkaliemia (o iperpotassiemia) è uno dei più comuni disturbi elettrolitici osservabili in pazienti con malattia renale cronica (CKD) o scompenso cardiaco congestizio. In accordo con la letteratura corrente, non c’è una definizione univoca: si può parlare di iperkaliemia sia quando il livello di potassio (K) nel sangue supera il cut-off di 5,0 mEq/L (13) sia quando supera il cut-off di 5,5 mEq/L (45).

L’iperkaliemia è piuttosto rara nella popolazione generale poiché una funzione renale conservata consente una regolazione fine ed efficace l’omeostasi del potassio (6).

 

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