Rhabdomyolysis is an acute skeletal muscle disorder characterized by altered integrity of the cell membranes of muscle fiber cells. It can be related to a variety of factors: muscular trauma, muscle enzyme deficiencies, infections, drugs, toxins, alcohol ingestion, endocrinopathies and electrolyte imbalances such as hypokalemia. We report the case of a 46-year-old woman admitted to the Emergency Department for frequent episodes of vomiting associated with food intake in the last two weeks, general muscular weakness and myalgia. Physical examination on admission was unremarkable, except for a symmetrical and dominantly proximal muscular weakness of all four extremities. Blood pressure was 116/70 mmHg with a sinus bradycardia (53 beats/min) on the electrocardiogram. Laboratory tests showed a metabolic alkalosis with marked hypokalemia (K+= 1.9 mEq/l) and elevation of muscular enzymes (myglobin= 993 ng/ml, troponin T= 0,10 ng/ml e CK= 1113 U/l). No symptoms of recurrent rhabdomyolysis were reported, patient denied alcohol consumption and there was not clinical evidence of hyperthyroidism. A iatrogenic etiology could not be excluded for certain because patient was in therapy with lansoprazole (Naranjo algorithm 3/13) but, revealing medical history that she underwent a laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding for the treatment of a severe obesity, we focused our attention on hypokalemia, due to persistent vomiting. Fasting, administration of metoclopramide and infusion of potassium chloride resulted in steady improvement of clinical conditions and normalization of electrolyte imbalance. At the clinical follow-up of three months, after partial deflation of the gastric banding, the patient was asymptomatic with muscular enzymes and potassium levels in the normal range. Authors discuss the pathophysiologic mechanisms of these alterations.
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