University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Hypokalemia Due to Ectopic Adrenocorticotropic Hormone

Adil Ghaffar, MD; Tripti Singh, MD

WMJ. 2024;123(2):135-137

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Hypokalemia is a common disorder in clinical practice. The underlying pathophysiology can be attributed to 3 main mechanisms: insufficient potassium intake, excessive urinary or gastrointestinal losses, and transcellular shift. Renal loss is the most common cause of hypokalemia. Renal loss of potassium can occur due to diuretics, mineralocorticoid excess or hypercortisolism (Cushing syndrome). Among patients with Cushing syndrome, ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is the most frequent cause. We present a case of hypokalemia and hypertension due to ectopic ACTH production leading to Cushing syndrome.

Author Affiliations: Saint Francis Medical Center, Cape Girardeau, Missouri (Ghaffar); Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin (Singh).
Corresponding Author: Adil Ghaffar, MD, Saint Francis Medical Center, 211 Saint Francis Dr, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703; phone 573.331.3220; email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-5989-1109
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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