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August 1987

Suppression of Plasma Renin Activity in a Boy With Chronic Hyperkalemia

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(8):922-927. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460080108041

• Chronic hyperkalemia (6.8 mmol/L [6.8 mEq/L]) was discovered in a boy, aged 13 years 7 months, with short stature, delayed puberty, and normal blood pressure. Additional studies revealed hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis (serum values: sodium Ion, 139 mmol/L [139 mEq/L]; chloride, 113 mmol/L [113 mEq/L]; bicarbonate, 18 mmol/L [18 mEq/L]), a normal glomerular filtration rate, a subnormal renal threshold for bicarbonate reabsorption, and normal serum thyroxine, growth hormone, and cortisol values. Renal excretion of potassium ion was subnormal for the prevailing serum concentration of potassium ion but was Increased normally by infusion of sodium sulfate. The serum aldosterone concentration was appropriate for a normokalemic subject, despite marked suppression of plasma renin activity (PRA) (supine/upright: aldosterone, 140/580 pmol/L [5/21 ng/dL]; PRA, 0.0/0.03 ng/L·s [0.0/0.1 ng/mL/h]). Treatment with chlorothiazide and sodium chloride resulted in correction of the abnormal electrolyte concentrations and an increase in linear growth velocity. Serum aldosterone concentrations did not change significantly during treatment, even though the PRA had increased (supine/upright: aldosterone, 110/920 pmol/L [4/33 ng/dL]; PRA, 0.89/2.17 ng/L·s [3.2/7.8 ng/mL/h]). In this patient, we conclude that (1) hyperkalemia was due to inadequate renal excretion of potassium ion; (2) the serum potassium ion concentration was the major stimulus to aldosterone secretion before treatment; (3) suppression of PRA was more likely due to hyperkalemia than to extracellular volume expansion.

(AJDC 1987;141:922-927)