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July 1980

Acute Intermittent Porphyria in a 15-Year-Old West Indian Girl

Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(7):988-989. doi:10.1001/archinte.1980.00040020988033

To the Editor.—  We present a case of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) or Swedish porphyria in a 15-year-old West Indian girl of mixed black (mother) and East Indian (father) parentage. Most commonly seen in people from northern Europe, AIP has been thought to be extremely rare in the black person1 and, to the best of our knowledge and after a thorough search of the literature, we believe this to be the first documented case of AIP in a West Indian. Extensive vagus nerve involvement producing aphonia and pulmonary edema was another unusual feature of this case.

Report of a Case.—  A previously healthy girl was admitted to the hospital with a three-day history of headache, colicky abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and limb pain. Physical examination was not remarkable except for generalized abdominal tenderness. The patient's temperature on admission was 37.8 °C; pulse, 96 beats per minute; respiration rate, 24/ minute; blood pressure, 100/70