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Rev Med Chil. 2014 May;142(5):651-5. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872014000500015.

[Severe hypokalemic rhabdomyolysis. Report of six cases].

[Article in Spanish]


Rhabdomyolysis results from acute necrosis of skeletal muscle fibers and consequent leakage of muscle constituents into the circulation. It ranges from an asymptomatic state to a severe condition associated with extreme elevations in creatine kinase and acute renal failure. Reported etiologies of rhabdomyolysis include alcohol abuse, drugs, muscle trauma and muscle overexertion. Less common causes include muscle enzyme deficiencies, electrolyte abnormalities, infectious causes, toxins and endocrine disorders. Hypokalemia is a rare cause of rhabdomyolysis. We report six patients aged 31 to 57 years (three women) with a severe hypokalemic rhabdomyolysis, secondary to chronic diarrhea in two patients, treatment with loop diuretics in one and Gitelman syndrome in three. Rhabdomyolysis may be underdiagnosed in the context of hypokalemia, because the neuromuscular symptoms can be attributed solely to the electrolyte disorder.

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