A Simple and Rapid Approach to Hypokalemic Paralysis

Shih Hua Lin, Jainn Shiun Chiu, Chin Wang Hsu, Tom Chau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Hypokalemia with paralysis (HP) is a potentially reversible medical emergency. It is primarily the result of either hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HPP) caused by an enhanced shift of potassium (K+) into cells or non-HPP resulting from excessive K+ loss. Failure to make a distinction between HPP and non-HPP could lead to improper management. The use of spot urine for K+ excretion rate and evaluation of blood acid-base status could be clinically beneficial in the diagnosis and management. A very low rate of K+ excretion coupled with the absence of a metabolic acid-base disorder suggests HPP, whereas a high rate of K+ excretion accompanied by either metabolic alkalosis or metabolic acidosis favors non-HPP. The therapy of HPP requires only small doses of potassium chloride (KCI) to avoid rebound hyperkalemia. In contrast, higher doses of KCI should be administered to replete the large K+ deficiency in non-HPP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-491
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid-base
  • Hypokalemia
  • Paralysis
  • Potassium excretion rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A Simple and Rapid Approach to Hypokalemic Paralysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this