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Pak J Biol Sci. 2012 Mar 1;15(5):263-6.

Atypical presentation of vitamin B12 deficiency.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Daneshgah Street, Tabriz-51664, Iran.


Vitamin B12 deficiency (B12D) has wide variety of neurological and non-neurological signs and symptoms. We describe a 61-year-old man who was admitted to Emergency Department (ED) with trouble to walk independently, suffering from weakness and a long history of dyspepsia that had worsened in the last four weeks. He had mild impairment of cognitive functions; motor strength was normal and his patellar and achilles reflexes were absent, also the plantar reflexes were abolished. All blood tests were normal except hemoglobin concentration which showed mild anemia. At further studies regarding trouble walking of this patient, he was candidated for lumbar disk surgery based on mild disk bulging seen at L3-L4 level in the lumbar spine MRI. Further examinations before the surgery due to approach to anemia showed severely decreased serum vitamin B12 level. The patient's symptoms improved after treating with intramuscular cobalamin. Being a very commonly seen disorder in the general population, B12 deficiency should be born in mind as a probable diagnosis in patients with peripheral neuropathy and no clear underlying cause presenting to the ED. Therefore, simple screening with a CBC might decrease the neurologic complications, morbidity and inappropriate workups through early diagnosis and treatment.

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