Dyskalaemia following diffuse axonal injury: case report and review of the literature

David Cronin, Chandrasekaran Kaliaperumal, Ramanathan Kumar, George Kaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Traumatic brain injury, and its management, commonly causes derangements in potassium balance. There are a number of recognised causative factors including head trauma, hypothermia and iatrogenic factors such as pharmacological agents and permissive cooling. We describe a case of a 19-year-old man with a severe traumatic brain injury. In a 36-h period, his intracranial pressure increased despite maximal medical therapy and he developed refractory hypokalaemia. Immediately following a decompressive craniectomy, the patient was noted to be profoundly hyperkalaemic; this led to the development of ventricular tachycardia and cardiac arrest, from which the patient did not recover. The effects of brain injury on potassium balance are not well appreciated; the effect of decompressive craniectomy on potassium (K(+)) balance has not been described previously. We would like to emphasise the potential effect of diffuse axonal injury, a severe form of brain injury and decompressive craniectomy on potassium balance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Decompressive Craniectomy
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Heart Arrest
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Male
  • Potassium
  • Young Adult


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