Clinical Communications: Adults| Volume 48, ISSUE 4, e97-e99, April 2015

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Hypokalemia Causing Rhabdomyolysis in a Patient with Short Bowel Syndrome

Published:February 10, 2015DOI:



      Rhabdomyolysis, usually in the setting of trauma or drug use, is frequently seen in the emergency setting, and often leads to hyperkalemia at presentation. Hypokalemia, however, is a potentially underrecognized cause of rhabdomyolysis.

      Case Report

      We present a case of rhabdomyolysis likely due to hypokalemia in the setting of short bowel syndrome.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      Although less common, hypokalemia can be a significant cause of rhabdomyolysis via its effects on muscle. This scenario should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients at risk for hypokalemia who present with weakness. Rapid recognition of this relationship and rapid correction of hypokalemia may prove very important in preventing the deleterious effects of rhabdomyolysis.


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