Thyrotoxic hypokalaemic periodic paralysis (THPP) is characterised by the triad hyperthyroidism, hypokalaemia and brief transient paralysis with proximal muscle weakness. It is a rare disease worldwide, but particularly prevalent in Asian men. The symptoms arise as a result of increased sodium-potassium
adenosine triphosphatase (Na/K-ATPase) pump activity on the cell membrane, probably influenced by thyroid hormone, insulin and β-adrenergic impulses. An intracellular shift of potassium occurs and consequently leads to paralysis. We describe a Caucasian man who had already started treatment for hyperthyroidism, including propranolol, which is assumed to have a protective effect against recurrent paralytic attacks in THPP.
Back to issue - Download PDF