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BMJ Case Rep. 2014 Dec 8;2014. pii: bcr2014206754. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-206754.

A successful spontaneous pregnancy in abetalipoproteinemia: Amsterdam or the art of vitamin replacement?

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Department of Acute Medicine, George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton, UK.
Warwick Medical School University of Warwick, Coventry, UK Departments of Endocrinology and Diabetes, General Internal Medicine, Medical Obstetrics, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Nuneaton, UK.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton, UK.


Abetalipoproteinemia is a rare metabolic disorder that causes disturbed lipid absorption with consequent hypocholesterolaemia and liposoluble avitaminosis. The broad spectrum of presentations includes malabsorption, failure to thrive and acanthocytosis in children, while later in life expected manifestations include coagulopathy, myopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, peripheral neuropathy, hyporeflexia and ataxia. These neurological complications stem from demyelination secondary to vitamin E deficiency. Another complication is reduced fertility in women. In the event of a successful conception, issues arise in vitamin supplementation, the mainstay of treatment of abetalipoproteinemia. The skilful clinician must master the delicate balance between the teratogenic effects on the fetus of over as well as under replacement of vitamins, pregnancy complications such as premature rupture of membranes and eclampsia, and, finally, maternal complications such as corneal ulcers. We describe the management of a patient ranging from pubertal growth to bearing a successful spontaneous pregnancy with an outcome of a completely healthy mother and child.

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