Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Postgastrectomy polyneuropathy with thiamine deficiency is identical to beriberi neuropathy.

Nutrition 2004 November
OBJECTIVE: We assessed whether postgastrectomy polyneuropathy associated with thiamine deficiency is clinicopathologically identical to beriberi neuropathy, including a biochemical determination of thiamine status.

METHODS: Clinicopathologic features of 17 patients who had postgastrectomy polyneuropathy with thiamine deficiency were compared with those of 11 patients who had thiamine-deficiency neuropathy caused by dietary imbalance.

RESULTS: The typical presentation for the two etiologies was as a symmetric sensorimotor polyneuropathy predominantly involving the lower limbs. A variety of clinical features, including neuropathic symptoms, progression, and coexistence of heart failure or Wernicke's encephalopathy, was seen similarly in both conditions. In both groups, the main electrophysiologic findings were those of axonal neuropathy, most prominently in the lower limbs. Sural nerve biopsy specimens also indicated axonal degeneration in both groups. Subperineurial edema was commonly observed.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that thiamine-deficiency neuropathies due to gastrectomy and dietary imbalance are identical despite variability in their clinicopathologic features and suggested that thiamine deficiency can be a major cause of postgastrectomy polyneuropathy.

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