Pseudo Bartter Syndrome from Surreptitious Purging Behaviour in Anorexia Nervosa

Maria Gabriella Gentile


 Pseudo Bartter syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by metabolic alkalosis, hypokalaemia, hyperaldosteronism, hyperreninism, normal blood pressure and hyperplasia of the juxtaglomerular apparatus.\r\n\r\nThe most dangerous complication of Pseudo Bartter syndrome is hypokalemia.\r\n\r\nHypokalemia caused by vomiting, diarrhea, prolonged fasting, abuse of potassium-depleting drugs, may be present in patients with binge /purging form of anorexia or bulimia nervosa.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWe report a case of a 19-year-old girl with anorexia nervosa (BMI 16.15 kg/m2) and severe prolonged hypokalemia (1.9 mEq/l), metabolic alkalosis and severe protracted secondary hyperaldosteronism (i.e. Pseudo Bartter’s syndrome) from surreptitious purging behaviour (vomit and laxative abuse).\r\n\r\nAn intensive multidisciplinary day-hospital treatment including long-term potassium supplementation, a potassiumsparing diuretic was necessary to resolve the case and to allow the young girl to admit her previous purging behaviour and after three months to get at a normal kalemia without any potassium supplementation and BMI at a normal value (20 kg/m2).\r\n\r\nGiven the dangers to the heart electrical and mechanical functions set by severe potassium deficiency, it is mandatory to find out the true cause so that a proper treatment can be started.\r\n

Relevant Publications in Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy