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October 1, 1967

Beriberi Heart Disease With Acute Renal Failure

Author Affiliations

Syracuse, NY

From the Department of Medicine, State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. Doctor Webb is presently at the New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;120(4):494-498. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.04410010108016

Patients with beriberi heart disease usually present with a history of dietary deficiency, signs of high output failure, and peripheral neuritis. A high blood pyruvic acid, an abnormally low peripheral vascular resistance,1 a favorable response to thiamine, and most specifically, an increased thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) effect2 confirms the diagnosis. The purpose of this report is to present a patient who at first appeared to have primary renal failure and circulatory overload but who proved to have beriberi heart failure, which probably caused functional renal failure.

Report of a Case  A 36-year-old white carpenter and alcoholic was admitted to Crouse-Irving Hospital Nov 26, 1965, with a chief complaint of leg swelling and shortness of breath for five months. Four months prior to admission weight gain, shoulder weakness, and dyspnea on exertion forced him to stop work. He rested in his bachelor apartment where he drank an alleged five to seven bottles