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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005 Jul;6(4):483-5.

Coma and respiratory failure in a child with severe vitamin B(12) deficiency.

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1
Terapia Intensiva Pediatrica, Ospedali Riuniti, Bergamo, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Psychofunctional follow-up of severe vitamin B(12) deficit.

DESIGN:

Case report.

SETTING:

Pediatric intensive care unit.

PATIENT:

Ten-month-old boy.

INTERVENTION:

Follow-up at 3 yrs.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

A 10-month-old boy was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with respiratory failure, muscular hypotonia, and involuntary movements. Although a central nervous system infection was excluded, computed tomography scan showed a diffuse cortical-subcortical atrophy. Vitamin B(12) deficiency was suspected because of a red-cell count of 1,350,000/mm(3) and a hemoglobin value 5.9 g/dL (MCV 116). The baby had been exclusively breast-fed, but his mother had been a strict vegan for 10 yrs. Chronic dietary vitamin B(12) deprivation was confirmed by blood and urinary samples. Treatment with vitamin B(12) led in 2 wks to rapid and complete hematological improvement and to partial regression of neurologic symptoms. During the following 3 yrs the boy had normal vitamin intake and underwent intensive rehabilitative treatment. The brain atrophy regressed, but linguistic and psychomotor delay persisted.

CONCLUSIONS:

Rapid clinical improvement after vitamin supply does not correlate with a complete recovery.

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