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Nutr Clin Pract. 1994 Dec;9(6):247-50.

Possible folate deficiency with postsurgical infection.

Erratum in

  • Nutr Clin Pract 1995 Apr;10(2):79.


A 51-year-old obese woman was transferred to our hospital for management of a complicated laparoscopic cholecystectomy accompanied by fever and malaise. A liver abscess was discovered. On postoperative day 52 it was noted that the patient's tongue was magenta and sore and that she had altered taste, pallor, severe weight loss, diarrhea, and poor appetite and mood. A dermatology consult suggested that her tongue abnormalities were most likely nutrition-related, and a hematologic blood smear was suggestive of folate deficiency. Premorbidly, the patient had consumed a diet chronically low in folate and had received estrogen therapy for 15 years. Throughout the patient's hospitalization, she had bouts of fever and received numerous antibiotics. Within a month of initiating nutrition support and vitamin/mineral supplements, her nutritional status improved dramatically. This patient's poor diet, long-term estrogen use, surgical stress, infection, and lack of early nutrition support may have contributed to her possible folate deficiency and her prolonged hospital stay.

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