Altered and unstable: wet beriberi, a clinical review.

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Altered and unstable: wet beriberi, a clinical review.

J Emerg Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):341-4

Authors: Chisolm-Straker M, Cherkas D

BACKGROUND: Undifferentiated altered mental status and hemodynamic instability are common presenting complaints in the Emergency Department (ED). Emergency practitioners do not have the luxury of time to perform sequential examination, history, testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Rather, we do all of these things at once to save lives and decrease morbidity. An important diagnosis to consider and upon which we can easily intervene is that of thiamine deficiency.
OBJECTIVES: We present a case of an altered and unstable woman who presented to our busy ED and had rapid improvement after the administration of vitamin B1. We discuss the presentation, pathophysiology, consequences of missed diagnosis, and management of this disease process.
CASE REPORT: A middle-aged woman presented to our ED with unstable vital signs and an alteration in her mental status. She was unable to provide a history. Empiric treatment with thiamine resulted in the resolution of her hemodynamic instability and improvement in her mental status.
CONCLUSION: Our patient benefited from the swift administration of thiamine and illustrates the importance of thiamine administration in the altered or hemodynamically unstable emergency patient with an elevated lactate.

PMID: 23849362 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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