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Two cases of hypokalaemic rhabdomyolysis: same but different
  1. Philipp Pecnik1,
  2. Petra Müller2,
  3. Sybille Vrabel3,
  4. Martin Windpessl1
  1. 1Fourth Department of Medicine, Klinikum Wels-Grieskirchen, Wels, Austria
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Klinikum Wels-Grieskirchen, Wels, Austria
  3. 3Institute of Medical Genetics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Windpessl, martin.windpessl{at}


In this paper, we present two women with hypokalaemic rhabdomyolysis in the context of increased diuretic intake and gastroenteritis, respectively. While their clinical manifestations and laboratory results were strikingly similar, two different underlying disorders were subsequently unveiled. The first patient was diagnosed with Conn syndrome, and adrenalectomy led to significant improvement of hypertension and sustained normokalaemia. The diagnosis in the second patient was Gitelman syndrome. Electrolyte supplements improved long-term lassitude and the frequency of muscle cramps declined significantly. These case vignettes illustrate the importance of establishing the underlying cause of hypokalaemia.

  • fluid electrolyte and acid-base disturbances
  • endocrinology
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  • Contributors PP wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. PM cared for patient 2 and expanded the discussion on rhabdomyolysis. SV performed genetic analysis, expanded the discussion on genetics and provided figure 2. MW cared for the patients, wrote the manuscript and obtained consent. All authors critically revised the manuscript and approved it before submission.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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