Porphyria is characterized by remissions and exacerbations; it causes death by producing respiratory failure. Three patients with respiratory involvement during recurring episodes of intermittent porphyria were treated by tracheotomy and mechanical respiratory assistance. The cases serve to emphasize that such patients may recover from their respiratory complication and be ambulant, even after a prolonged illness and in spite of continued excretion of porphobilinogen. Use of the respirator is emphasized, because it will prevent death due to paralytic respiratory failure, thus allowing time for clinical remission and recovery.
Doll SG, Bower AG, Affeldt JE. ACUTE INTERMITTENT PORPHYRIA WITH RESPIRATORY PARALYSIS. JAMA. 1958;168(15):1973-1976. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.03000150015004