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The Association of Periodic Paralysis with Hyperthyroidism

SAM W. LAW, M.D.; J. B. ROCHELLE III, M.D.; GEORGE L. JORDAN Jr., M.D.
AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(2):181-186. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290190001001.
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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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