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Open access

Maheswaran Dhanasekaran, Siddharth Narayanan, Ioannis Mastoris, and Suchita Mehta

Summary

Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) induce osmotic diuresis by inhibiting the proximal renal tubular reabsorption of the filtered glucose load, which in turn can occasionally lead to severe dehydration and hypotension amidst other adverse effects. We present a case of a 49-year-old man with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) on canagliflozin, a SGLT2i. The patient was brought to the emergency room following a motor vehicle accident. He was confused and had an altered mental status. His blood alcohol and urine toxicology screens were negative. Initial investigations revealed that he had severe hyponatremia with euglycemic ketoacidosis. The adverse condition was reversed with close monitoring and timely management, and the patient was eventually discharged. This is the first report to suggest hyponatremia as a potentially serious adverse effect following SGLT2i therapy. Its impact on the renal tubule handling of sodium and water is not yet well characterized. While further studies are warranted to understand better the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with SGLT2i-induced adverse effects, timely dose reduction or perhaps even its temporary discontinuation may be recommended to prevent complications.

Learning points

  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) are usually well-tolerated, but some serious adverse effects have been documented.

  • Our case report suggests hyponatremia as a potential, rare side effect of SGLT2i and makes physicians aware of the occurrence of such life-threatening but preventable complications.

  • Timely and close monitoring of the patient, with temporary discontinuation of this drug, may be recommended towards effective management.

  • Studies demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of SGLT2i-related electrolyte derangements are warranted.

Open access

Nikitas S Skarakis, Irene Papadimitriou, Labrini Papanastasiou, Sofia Pappa, Anastasia Dimitriadi, Ioannis Glykas, Konstantinos Ntoumas, Penelope Lampropoulou, and Theodora Kounadi

Summary

Juxtaglomerular cell tumour (JGCT) is an unusually encountered clinical entity. A 33-year-old man with severe long-standing hypertension and hypokalaemia is described. The patient also suffered from polyuria, polydipsia, nocturia and severe headaches. On admission, laboratory investigation revealed hypokalaemia, kaliuresis, high aldosterone and renin levels, and the abdomen CT identified a mass of 4 cm at the right kidney. Kidney function was normal. Following nephrectomy, the histological investigation revealed the presence of a JGCT. Immunostaining was positive for CD34 as well as for smooth muscle actin and vimentin. Following surgery, a marked control of his hypertension with calcium channel blockers and normalization of the serum potassium, renin or aldosterone levels were reached. According to our findings, JGCT could be included in the differential diagnosis of secondary hypertension as it consists of a curable cause. The association of JGCT with hypertension and hypokalaemia focusing on the clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation and management is herein discussed and a brief review of the existing literature is provided.

Learning points

  • Juxtaglomerular cell tumours (JGCT), despite their rarity, should be included in the differential diagnosis of secondary hypertension as they consist of a curable cause of hypertension.

  • JGCT could be presented with resistant hypertension along with hypokalaemia, kaliuresis and metabolic alkalosis. Early recognition and management can help to prevent cardiovascular complications.

  • Imaging (enhanced CT scans) may be considered as the primary diagnostic tool for the detection of renal or JGCT.

  • For the confirmation of the diagnosis, a histopathologic examination is needed.

Open access

Clare E Bonnar, John F Brazil, Julie O Okiro, Louise Giblin, Yvonne Smyth, Paula M O’Shea, and Francis M Finucane

Summary

A 32-year-old Caucasian male presented to the emergency department with a one-day history of acute severe bilateral lower limb weakness, three days after competing in a bodybuilding competition. He consumed large quantities of carbohydrate-rich foods following the competition. His past medical history was significant for anxiety, and family history was non-contributory. Examination was normal except for reduced power and hyporeflexia in both legs, despite his muscular physique. He was noted to have severe hypokalaemia (K+= 1.9 mmol/L). His thyroid function tests were consistent with thyrotoxicosis. He reported taking thyroxine and several other agents to facilitate muscle mass generation before the bodybuilding competition. His presentation was reminiscent of thyrotoxic periodic paralysis, albeit uncommon with Caucasian ethnicity. He also had transient hyperglycaemia at presentation with concomitant hyperinsulinaemia, which could be attributed to the carbohydrate load and may have exacerbated his hypokalaemia through a transcellular shift. Urine toxicology screen subsequently ruled out the use of diuretics but confirmed the presence of a long-acting beta agonist (clenbuterol) which, along with other substances, may have aggravated the hypokalaemia further. After 12 h of i.v. replacement, the potassium level normalised and leg weakness resolved. The patient agreed to stop taking thyroxine and beta agonists and was well during the clinic visit at one month follow-up. This case highlights the potential for thyrotoxicosis factitia to exacerbate hypokalaemia and muscle weakness from other causes in bodybuilders presenting with acute severe weakness, irrespective of ethnicity.

Learning points

  • In patients presenting with muscle weakness and hypokalaemia, early consideration of thyrotoxicosis is essential, even in the absence of a past history of thyroid disease or specific symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, in order to allow prompt initiation of appropriate treatment and to prevent recurrence.

  • Bodybuilders may constitute a uniquely ‘at-risk’ group for thyrotoxic periodic paralysis secondary to thyrotoxicosis factitia, especially where there is concomitant use of beta-adrenergic agonists, even in the absence of diuretic use.

  • Although rare and usually described in patients of Asian or Polynesian ethnicity, this case highlights that thyrotoxic periodic paralysis secondary to thyrotoxicosis factitia can also occur in patients with Caucasian ethnicity.

  • We speculate that consuming large quantities of carbohydrates may induce hyperinsulinaemia, which could theoretically contribute to worse hypokalaemia, though mechanistic studies would be needed to explore this further.

Open access

Lachlan M Angus, Jun Yang, and Ada S Cheung

Summary

Primary aldosteronism is one of the most common (affecting up to 10%) yet treatable causes of hypertension in our community, notable due to an associated elevated risk of atrial fibrillation, stroke and myocardial infarction compared to essential hypertension. Guidelines have focussed on improving case detection due to significant underdiagnosis in the community. While our case experienced significant delay in diagnosis, we highlight a state of protracted, persistent post-operative hypoaldosteronism which manifested with severe hyponatraemia and hyperkalaemia, necessitating long-term mineralocorticoid replacement. We discuss whether pre-operative mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists to stimulate aldosterone secretion from the contralateral gland may have prevented this complication.

Learning points

  • Hypoaldosteronism is an uncommon complication of adrenalectomy for primary aldosteronism, typically manifesting with hyperkalaemia and hyponatraemia. While most cases are transient, it may be persistent, necessitating ongoing mineralocorticoid replacement.

  • Routine electrolyte monitoring is recommended post-adrenalectomy.

  • Risk factors for hypoaldosteronism include age >50 years, duration of hypertension >10 years, pre-existing renal impairment and adrenal adenoma size >2 cm.

  • Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists may assist in the management of hypokalaemia and hypertension pre-operatively. However, it is unclear whether this reduces the risk of post-operative hypoaldosteronism.

Open access

Ryizan Nizar, Nathan W P Cantley, and Jonathan C Y Tang

Summary

A 33-year-old gentleman of Egyptian heritage presented with a 21 years history of unexplained and recurrent hypercalcaemia, nephrolithiasis, nephrocalcinosis, and myocarditis. A similar history was also found in two first-degree relatives. Further investigation into the vitamin D metabolism pathway identified the biochemical hallmarks of infantile hypercalcaemia type 1 (IIH). A homozygous, likely pathogenic, variant in CYP24A1 was found on molecular genetic analysis confirming the diagnosis. Management now focuses on removing excess vitamin D from the metabolic pathway as well as reducing calcium intake to achieve serum-adjusted calcium to the middle of the reference range. If undiagnosed, IIH can cause serious renal complications and metabolic bone disease.

Learning points

  • Infantile hypercalcaemia type 1 (IIH) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by homozygous mutations in the CYP24A1 gene that encodes the 24-hydroxylase enzyme used to convert active vitamin D metabolites such as 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D into their inactive form.

  • IIH should be questioned in individuals presenting with a history of unexplained hypercalcaemia, especially if presenting from childhood and/or where there is an accompanying family history of the same in first and/or second degree relatives, causing complications such as nephrocalcinosis, pericarditis, and calcium-based nephrolithiasis.

  • Associated biochemistry of IIH is persistent mild to moderate hypercalcaemia, normal or raised 25-(OH)-vitamin D and elevated 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D. An elevated ratio of 25-(OH)-vitamin D to 24,25-(OH)2-vitamin D can be a useful marker of defects in the 24-hydroxylase enzyme, whose measurement can be facilitated through the supra-regional assay service.

  • Management should focus on limiting the amount of vitamin D introduced into the body either via sunlight exposure or supplementation in addition to calcium dietary restriction to try and maintain appropriate calcium homeostasis

Open access

Rishi Raj, Samaneh Hasanzadeh, Mitra Dashtizadeh, Mohammadreza Kalantarhormozi, Katayoun Vahdat, Mohammad Hossein Dabbaghmanesh, Iraj Nabipour, Mohammdreza Ravanbod, Majid Assadi, Basir Hashemi, and Kamyar Asadipooya

Summary

Oncogenic osteomalacia secondary to glomus tumor is extremely rare. Localization of causative tumors is critical as surgical resection can lead to a complete biochemical and clinical cure. We present a case of oncogenic osteomalacia treated with resection of glomus tumor. A 39-year-old woman with a history of chronic sinusitis presented with chronic body ache and muscle weakness. Biochemical evaluation revealed elevated alkaline phosphatase hypophosphatemia, increased urinary phosphate excretion, low calcitriol, and FGF23 was unsuppressed suggestive of oncogenic osteomalacia. Diagnostic studies showed increase uptake in multiple bones. Localization with MRI of paranasal sinuses revealed a sinonasal mass with concurrent uptake in the same area on the octreotide scan. Surgical resection of the sinonasal mass was consistent with the glomus tumor. The patient improved both clinically and biochemically postoperatively. Along with the case of oncogenic osteomalacia secondary to a glomus tumor, we have also discussed in detail the recent development in the diagnosis and management of oncogenic osteomalacia.

Learning points

  • Tumor-induced osteomalacia is a rare cause of osteomalacia caused by the secretion of FGF23 from mesenchymal tumors.

  • Mesenchymal tumors causing TIO are often difficult to localize and treat.

  • Resection of the tumor can result in complete resolution of biochemical and clinical manifestations in a very short span of time.

  • Glomus tumor can lead to tumor induced osteomalacia and should be surgically treated.

Open access

Rachel Wurth, Abhishek Jha, Crystal Kamilaris, Anthony J Gill, Nicola Poplawski, Paraskevi Xekouki, Martha M Quezado, Karel Pacak, Constantine A Stratakis, and Fady Hannah-Shmouni

Summary

Succinate dehydrogenase deficiency has been associated with several neoplasias, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and those associated with hereditary paraganglioma (PGL)/ pheochromocytoma (PHEO) syndromes, Carney dyad, and Carney triad. Carney triad is a rare multitumoral syndrome characterized by co-existing PGL, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pulmonary chondroma (CHO). We report a case of a 57-year-old male who presented with para-aortic and gastroesophogeal masses, and a right renal superior pole lesion, which were classified as multiple PGLs, a GIST, and a clear cell renal carcinoma, respectively, on pathology following surgical resection. Additionally, a CHO was diagnosed radiologically, although no biopsy was performed. A diagnosis of Carney triad was made. SDHB immunohistochemical staining was negative for the PGL and the GIST, indicating SDH-deficiency. Interestingly, the renal cell carcinoma (RCC) stained positive for both SDHB and SDHA. Subsequent genetic screening of SDH subunit genes revealed a germline inactivating heterozygous SDHA pathogenic variant (c.91 C>T, p.R31X). Loss of heterozygosity was not detected at the tumor level for the RCC, which likely indicated the SDHA variant would not be causative of the RCC, but could still predispose to the development of neoplasias. To the knowledge of the authors this is the first reported case of an SDHA pathogenic variant in a patient with Carney triad complicated by RCC.

Learning points

  • The succinate dehydrogenase enzyme is encoded by four subunit genes (SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, and SDHD; collectively referred to as SDHx), which have been implicated in several neoplasias and are classified as tumor suppressor genes.

  • Carney triad is a rare multiple-neoplasia syndrome presenting as an association of PGLs, GISTs, and CHOs.

  • Carney triad is most commonly associated with hypermethylation of SDHC as demonstrated in tumor tissue, but approximately 10% of cases are due to pathogenic SDHx variants.

  • Although SDHB pathogenic variants are most commonly reported in SDH-deficient renal cell carcinoma, SDHA disease-causing variants have been reported in rare cases.

Open access

Ravikumar Ravindran, Justyna Witczak, Suhani Bahl, Lakdasa D K E Premawardhana, and Mohamed Adlan

Summary

A 53-year-old man who used growth hormone (GH), anabolic steroids and testosterone (T) for over 20 years presented with severe constipation and hypercalcaemia. He had benign prostatic hyperplasia and renal stones but no significant family history. Investigations showed – (1) corrected calcium (reference range) 3.66 mmol/L (2.2–2.6), phosphate 1.39 mmol/L (0.80–1.50), and PTH 2 pmol/L (1.6–7.2); (2) urea 21.9 mmol/L (2.5–7.8), creatinine 319 mmol/L (58–110), eGFR 18 mL/min (>90), and urine analysis (protein 4+, glucose 4+, red cells 2+); (3) creatine kinase 7952 U/L (40–320), positive anti Jo-1, and Ro-52 antibodies; (4) vitamin D 46 nmol/L (30–50), vitamin D3 29 pmol/L (55–139), vitamin A 4.65 mmol/L (1.10–2.60), and normal protein electrophoresis; (5) normal CT thorax, abdomen and pelvis and MRI of muscles showed ‘inflammation’, myositis and calcification; (6) biopsy of thigh muscles showed active myositis, chronic myopathic changes and mineral deposition and of the kidneys showed positive CD3 and CD45, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and hypercalcaemic tubular changes; and (7) echocardiography showed left ventricular hypertrophy (likely medications and myositis contributing), aortic stenosis and an ejection fraction of 44%, and MRI confirmed these with possible right coronary artery disease. Hypercalcaemia was possibly multifactorial – (1) calcium release following myositis, rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney injury; (2) possible primary hyperparathyroidism (a low but detectable PTH); and (3) hypervitaminosis A. He was hydrated and given pamidronate, mycophenolate and prednisolone. Following initial biochemical and clinical improvement, he had multiple subsequent admissions for hypercalcaemia and renal deterioration. He continued taking GH and T despite counselling but died suddenly of a myocardial infarction.

Learning points:

  • The differential diagnosis of hypercalcaemia is sometimes a challenge.

  • Diagnosis may require multidisciplinary expertise and multiple and invasive investigations.

  • There may be several disparate causes for hypercalcaemia, although one usually predominates.

  • Maintaining ‘body image’ even with the use of harmful drugs may be an overpowering emotion despite counselling about their dangers.

Open access

Mawson Wang, Catherine Cho, Callum Gray, Thora Y Chai, Ruhaida Daud, and Matthew Luttrell

Summary

We report the case of a 65-year-old female who presented with symptomatic hypercalcaemia (corrected calcium of 4.57 mmol/L) with confusion, myalgias and abdominal discomfort. She had a concomitant metabolic alkalosis (pH 7.46, HCO3 - 40 mmol/L, pCO2 54.6 mmHg). A history of significant Quick-Eze use (a calcium carbonate based antacid) for abdominal discomfort, for 2 weeks prior to presentation, suggested a diagnosis of milk-alkali syndrome (MAS). Further investigations did not demonstrate malignancy or primary hyperparathyroidism. Following management with i.v. fluid rehydration and a single dose of i.v. bisphosphonate, she developed symptomatic hypocalcaemia requiring oral and parenteral calcium replacement. She was discharged from the hospital with stable biochemistry on follow-up. This case demonstrates the importance of a detailed history in the diagnosis of severe hypercalcaemia, with MAS representing the third most common cause of hypercalcaemia. We discuss its pathophysiology and clinical importance, which can often present with severe hypercalcaemia that can respond precipitously to calcium-lowering therapy.

Learning points:

  • Milk-alkali syndrome is an often unrecognised cause for hypercalcaemia, but is the third most common cause of admission for hypercalcaemia.

  • Calcium ingestion leading to MAS can occur at intakes as low as 1.0–1.5 g per day in those with risk factors.

  • Early recognition of this syndrome can avoid the use of calcium-lowering therapy such as bisphosphonates which can precipitate hypocalcaemia.

Open access

Stine Bech Smedegaard and Mads Vandsted Svart

Summary

Excessive intake of licorice may cause pseudohyperaldosteronism which, in turn, may lead to hypertension and hypokalemia. Severe hypokalemia may lead to electrocardiogram (ECG) changes including long QT interval potentially progressing into malignant arrhythmias. Here we present a 43-year-old woman admitted to the hospital with chest pain and a stinging sensation in the upper extremities. Her peak blood pressure was 177/98 mmHg and the blood test revealed low plasma potassium of 1.9 mmol/L. The ECG revealed flattened T-waves and long QT interval. Prior to admission, the patient had increased licorice ingestion to a total of some 70 g daily. The licorice intake was stopped and potassium was administrated orally and intravenously. Plasma potassium normalized and the ECG changes remitted. To our knowledge a few other cases of licorice-induced pseudohyperaldosteronism and long QT interval have previously been reported. This underlines the importance of quantifying licorice intake in younger people with unexplained high blood pressure and low potassium.

Learning points:

  • Even small amounts of licorice daily may increase the risk of developing hypertension; therefore, licorice should be asked for specifically.

  • Even though licorice intake is very easy to cover in the patient’s history, it is often missed.

  • Excessive licorice intake may course severe hypokalemia causing long QT interval in the ECG recording, potentially progressing into arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest/sudden death.

  • Hypokalemia <3 mmol/L and present ECG changes should be treated with potassium intravenously.

  • Licorice-induced hypertension may be associated with syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess (SAME). Plasma renin and aldosterone are both low at diagnosis and normalize when licorice is stopped.