Skeletal muscle channelopathies: a guide to diagnosis and management

Skeletal muscle channelopathies are a group of rare episodic genetic disorders comprising the periodic paralyses and the non-dystrophic myotonias. They may cause significant morbidity, limit vocational opportunities, be socially embarrassing, and sometimes are associated with sudden cardiac death. The diagnosis is often hampered by symptoms that patients may find difficult to describe, a normal examination in the absence of symptoms, and the need to interpret numerous tests that may be normal or abnormal. However, the symptoms respond very well to holistic management and pharmacological treatment, with great benefit to quality of life. Here, we review when to suspect a muscle channelopathy, how to investigate a possible case and the options for therapy once a diagnosis is made.

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