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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Short Bowel Syndrome in an Extremely Low Birth Weight Premature Infant with Wernicke Encephalopathy: A Case Report

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Management of emergency care, Rare disease, Adverse events of drug therapy , Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Yanzhen Zhang, Bo Zhou, Lanyan Wu, Hong Cao, Guozhong Xie, Hua Fang

China (mainland) International School of Nursing, Huangshan Vocational Technical College, Huangshan, Anhui, China (mainland)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e924830

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.924830

Available online: 2020-08-20

Published: 2020-10-01


BACKGROUND: Short bowel syndrome in infants is relatively rare. It consists of malabsorption caused by a congenital short bowel or extensive resection of a large part of the small intestine. The postoperative mortality rate is high and surviving patients develop many complications. Wernicke encephalopathy is caused by vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency. Delayed treatment may lead to irreversible neuron necrosis, gliosis, severe amnesia, Korsakoff psychosis, or even death.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a premature infant with extremely low birth weight and short bowel syndrome. He was treated with early enteral nutrition combined with succus entericus reinfusion with no complications. Four months after discharge, he was diagnosed with Wernicke encephalopathy. He was treated with intravenous vitamin B1 (100 mg IV/d) and was administered oral vitamin B1 (20 mg 3 times daily) by his wet nurse. Vitamin B1 levels returned to normal after 4 days (69.8 nmol/L). Physical development was normal at the follow-up at a corrected age of 2 years.
CONCLUSIONS: Preventive measures for Wernicke encephalopathy should be implemented in patients with long-term malnutrition or absorption disorders. The risk of vitamin B1 deficiency increases in patients receiving parenteral nutrition and medical staff should be aware of the importance of the vitamin B1 status.

Keywords: Short Bowel Syndrome, Thiamine Deficiency, Wernicke Encephalopathy