Friday, May 24, 2013

The Case of the Twitching Muscle Factory: Conclusion

And now for the conclusion of this adventure…

I knew the moment he mentioned twitching and peaked T waves at the cardiac power plant that the problem could be very serious.  Wanting to get to the bottom of it all before it was too late, I left quickly.  Making my way to the nearest telephone booth, I called in a favor for a forensic chemistry panel at the lab.  Sure enough, the results that came back were significant… very significant.  No wonder everyone was so anxious at the factory!

With no time to loose, I quickly made another call out to Myo and told him to meet me down at the Renal Sewage Treatment Facility.  When we got there, the place was a mess.  Some of the workers had gone on strike because of a lack of adequate water.  

After a call to the mayor alerting him to the need for prompt action, I sighed with relief.  My job was done here.  Thanks to Myo’s keen senses, we had saved the city from the devastating effects of Hyperkalemia.  Now I just need to see about collecting my fee so I can take that hot red blood cell out for a drink…

 That’s all for the Case of the Twitching Muscle Factory.  Did you guess the disease correctly?  Tune in next time for the adventures of Jack Tracer – Private Eye.

Medical Morales to Remember:

Hyperkalemia – serum potassium level greater than 5.1 and can lead to cardiac arrest if levels get too high

Hyperkalemia Clues: 
·         Cardiac - Peaked T Waves, slow heart rate, decreased BP, wide QRS, prolonged PR, frequent ectopy, v-fib, asystole
·         Respiratory – resp failure with very high levels due to muscle weakness and paralysis
·         Neuromuscular – muscle twitching, cramps, anxiety, weakness  (flaccid paralysis – late sign)
·         Gastrointestinal – nausea, diarrhea, hyperactive bowel sounds
·         Diet – high in potassium, Salt Substitutes
·         Impaired Renal Function

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