Aristolochic acid-induced Fanconi's syndrome and nephropathy presenting as hypokalemic paralysis.

Sung Sen Yang, Pauling Chu, Yuh Feng Lin, A. Chen, Shih Hua Lin

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Hypokalemic paralysis rarely is seen as the presenting feature in patients with Fanconi's syndrome. We describe a 60-year-old man who presented with the inability to ambulate on awakening in the morning. The pertinent history revealed he had consumed Chinese herbs for leg edema for 5 months. Physical examination was unremarkable except for extracellular fluid volume depletion and total paralysis of both lower extremities. Laboratory investigation showed hypokalemia (1.8 mEq/L), hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis (Cl-, 111 mEq/L, and HCO3-, 14.0 mEq/L), hypophosphatemia (0.9 mg/dL) with hyperphosphaturia, hypouricemia (1.3 mg/dL) with hyperuricosuria, and glycosuria, consistent with Fanconi's syndrome. Mild renal insufficiency (serum creatinine, 1.7 mg/dL) also was noticed. Blood and urine screens for heavy metals, autoantibodies, and monoclonal gammopathy were negative. A renal biopsy specimen revealed typical findings of aristolochic acid-associated nephropathy. Aristolochic acids were detected in the consumed Chinese herbs. This case highlights that consumption of Chinese herbs containing aristolochic acids may cause Fanconi's syndrome and should be considered as a cause of hypokalemic paralysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E14
JournalAmerican journal of kidney diseases : the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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