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Noninvasive ventilator prevents intubation in thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis-associated respiratory failure: A case report and literature review


1 Division of Respiratory Therapy, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei, Taiwan
2 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei, School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Chou-Chin Lan,
Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, 289, Jianguo Road, Xindian City, New Taipei
Taiwan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_248_19

Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis (TPP) is a rare complication of hyperthyroidism, often presents with limb muscle paralysis, hypokalemia with elevated-free T3, T4, and low thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). We herein reported an unusual presentation of TPP with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure. A 28-year-old female had complaints of nausea and vomiting. Laboratory investigations showed a serum potassium level of 1.2 mEq/L. Thyroid function test revealed the TSH level of 0.021 μlU/mL and free T4 at 2.01 ng/dL. She suddenly suffered from dyspnea and drowsiness. Acute hypercapnic respiratory failure with CO2retention was found. Noninvasive ventilation was used. Rapid correction of hypokalemia and administration of propylthiouracil, propranolol, and 5% Lugol's solution were performed. After the normalization of potassium levels, the patient's respiratory pattern stabilized and noninvasive ventilator (NIV) use was discontinued. Respiratory failure is an unusual but lethal complication of TPP. Rapid correction of hypokalemia and temporarily NIV can successfully avoid endotracheal intubation for respiratory failure.


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