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February 1960

The Association of Periodic Paralysis with Hyperthyroidism

Author Affiliations

Houston, Texas
From the Cora and Webb Mading Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, Baylor University College of Medicine, and the Departments of Surgery and Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(2):181-186. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290190001001

Periodic paralysis is a rare syndrome characterized by brief episodes of weakness or paralysis of skeletal muscles. Infrequently seen and poorly understood, this syndrome has been of interest primarily to neurologists and to those investigating the metabolism of skeletal muscle. A wider appreciation of periodic paralysis is warranted, however, because of the occasional concurrent appearance of this syndrome with hyperthyroidism. In this unusual situation, previously reported in only 14 patients in the United States, the striking episodes of muscle weakness may predominate in the early clinical course. Recognition of the associated hyperthyroidism is mandatory because adequate relief of both aspects of this combination is achieved only when euthyroidism is reestablished. A recent patient, the 15th to be reported from this country, illustrates the clinical course and the results obtained by subtotal thyroidectomy.

Report of a Case  A 24-year-old Latin-American male college student was first seen at the Veterans Administration Hospital

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