Study of incidence and prevalence of hypokalemic periodic paralysis

Ajith Dungdung, Vishwanath Malkappa Jalawadi, Upendra Prasad Yadav


Background: Hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HPP) is a rare autosomal dominant channelopathy characterised by muscle weakness or paralysis when there is a fall of potassium level in the blood. In individuals with mutation, attack begins during adolescents and most commonly occurs after sleep on awakening, rest after strenuous exercise, high carbohydrate diet and meal with high sodium content. This study was conducted to analyse the age of incidence and prevalence of HPP with various clinical presentations, diagnosis and its effective treatment.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of 50 patients of Hypokalemic periodic paralysis was analysed in tertiary care centre “Rajendra institute of medical science” Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, with reference to its clinical presentation, age of incidence and prevalence with laboratory parameters and treatment outcomes.

Results: Incidence of attack is more common in men between 26-35 years of age. Sudden onset of flaccid quadriparesis was the most common presentation with history of high carbohydrate diet on the background of strenuous work during summer season. Around 60% had similar history of attacks in the past and most of the patients had serum potassium levels between 2.1-3.0mEq/L. Electrocardiography (ECG) abnormalities associated with hypokalemia had been observed in 90% of patients, and also significant clinical, biochemical changes have been observed as well.

Conclusions: Early diagnosis not only helps in definitive management with potassium replacement, but also prevents patient going for life threatening respiratory failure.  Patients recover completely without any clinical sequelae. Therefore, it is imperative for physicians, particularly those working in acute care settings, to be aware of this condition. Further management depends on the cause, frequency of attacks, severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness.


Hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HPP), Quadriparesis, Serum potassium

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