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J Child Neurol. 2012 Jun;27(6):799-803. doi: 10.1177/0883073811426929. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Propionic acidemia associated with visual hallucinations.

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Department of Pediatrics, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Propionic acidemia, an autosomal recessive disorder, is a common form of organic aciduria resulting from the deficiency of propionyl-CoA carboxylase. It is characterized by frequent and potentially lethal episodes of metabolic acidosis often accompanied by hyperammonemia. A wide range of brain abnormalities have been reported in propionic acidemia. We report recurrent visual hallucinations in 2 children with propionic acidemia. Four visual hallucination events were observed in the 2 patients. Three episodes were preceded by an intercurrent illness, and 2 were associated with mild metabolic decompensation. The 2 events in one patient were associated with a seizure disorder with abnormal electroencephalogram. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed abnormal basal ganglia and faint temporo-occipital swelling bilaterally. This is probably the first report of visual hallucinations in propionic acidemia and should alert the treating clinicians to look for visual hallucinations in patients with organic acidurias, especially in an unusually anxious child.

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