Fulminant beriberi heart disease with lactic acidosis: presentation of a case with evaluation of left ventricular function and review of pathophysiologic mechanisms.
Cardiac beriberi is considered a rare disease in western society. A patient with fulminant Shoshin-type beriberi was studied in the acute phase and found to have severe metabolic acidosis, high output biventricular failure, and markedly low systemic vascular resistance. Red blood cell transketolase activity was abnormally low. Following treatment with thiamine, diuretics, digitalis and oxygen, all abnormalities disappeared. The historical background of the disease is reviewed along with a discussion of pathophysiologic mechanisms responsible for the hemodynamic profile and lactic acidosis. Angiographic and hemodynamic data on the patient presented suggest relative depression of left ventricular function in the acute phase of beriberi. Since beriberi is uncommonly encountered, emphasis is placed on diagnostic and therapeutic implications of the disease which may not be widely appreciated.
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