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J La State Med Soc. 2015 Jul-Aug;167(4):162-4. Epub 2015 Aug 15.

Patient with Eating Disorder, Carnitine Deficiency and Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

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An assistant professor in internal medicine at Tulane University.
A resident in medicine and neurology at Tulane University.


Dilated cardiomyopathy is characterized by a dilated and poorly functioning left ventricle and can result from several different etiologies including ischemic, infectious, metabolic, toxins, autoimmune processes or nutritional deficiencies. Carnitine deficiency-induced cardiomyopathy (CDIM) is an uncommon cause of dilated cardiomyopathy that can go untreated if not considered. Here, we describe a 30-year-old woman with an eating disorder and recent percutaneous endoscopic gastrotomy (PEG) tube placement for weight loss admitted to the hospital for possible PEG tube infection. Carnitine level was found to be low. Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) revealed ejection fraction 15%. Her hospital course was complicated by sepsis from a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC). She was discharged on a beta-blocker and carnitine supplementation. One month later her cardiac function had normalized. Carnitine deficiency-induced myopathy is an unusual cause of cardiomyopathy and should be considered in adults with decreased oral intake or malabsorption who present with cardiomyopathy.

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