Refractory hypokalemia: a case report


  • Indra Setiawan Department of Internal Medicine, Wangaya Regional General Hospital, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
  • I. Made S. Wirawan Department of Internal Medicine, Wangaya Regional General Hospital, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia



Hypokalemia, Potassium, Electrolyte disturbance


Hypokalemia is a common electrolyte disturbance in hospitalized patients, which prompts appropriate identification of hypokalemia symptoms and signs. As many as 20% of hospitalized patients are found to have hypokalemia. Many hypokalemia patients could also have systemic disease. A 55-year-old woman was presented with weakness, nausea, and vomiting for 2 days before admission. Vomit consisted of water; there was no blood in the vomit. Defecation was normal; consistency and odor of feces were normal. Patient had diabetes and was already on insulin regiment. Insulin was discontinued during hospitalization since blood sugar was close to lower limit. Electrocardiography (ECG) was within normal limit. Symptoms and signs of hypokalemia may not be readily apparent, as seen in this case. Treatment of hypokalemia should intend not to only replenish potassium, but also to identify underlying cause. Causes include gastrointestinal losses, intracellular shift, renal potassium losses, and inadequate intake.


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Case Reports