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May 1952


AMA Arch Intern Med. 1952;89(5):743-758. doi:10.1001/archinte.1952.00240050057005

BERIBERI is recognized as an infrequent but a definite cause of heart failure. Although beriberi heart disease can be severe and frequently fatal in its acute stage, there is very little in the medical literature on the end-result of this type of heart disease, nor has it been shown whether persons who recover from beriberi may have a chronic form of beriberi heart disease.

This report is on a study of the cardiac condition of 109 men who survived the acute effects of beriberi and severe malnutrition suffered during 44 months in Japanese prisons during World War II. The medical literature on beriberi heart disease contains reports on (1) the Oriental form, occurring where the diet consists chiefly of rice and is inadequate in general,1 (2) the Occidental form, most commonly seen in chronic alcoholism and occasionally in a variety of conditions2 in which there is a deficiency

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