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Neurology. 1989 Jul;39(7):952-5.

Potassium uptake in muscle during paramyotonic weakness.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY.


Previous studies have suggested that an abnormal release of potassium from muscle may accompany attacks of paramyotonic weakness. We investigated 3 patients with paramyotonia congenita before and after the induction of forearm muscle weakness by exercise in cold water. Two of these patients had paralysis periodica paramyotonica and the 3rd had paramyotonia congenita. At the time of paramyotonic weakness there was a marked increase in the arterialized-venous concentration difference of potassium across forearm muscle. This indicated a significant uptake of potassium by forearm muscle in all 3 patients. Normal controls showed a slight release of potassium both at rest and after exercise in cold water. These results suggest that (1) the sodium-potassium pump of the muscle fiber is operating efficiently during paramyotonic weakness; and (2) there is a different mechanism responsible for the generalized weakness that occurs in hyperkalemic periodic paralysis.

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