Pediatric Beriberi Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Oct 04, 2018
  • Author: Simon S Rabinowitz, MD, PhD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Jatinder Bhatia, MBBS, FAAP  more...
  • Print

Diagnostic Considerations

See the list below:

  • The differential diagnosis is very wide because different organ systems can be affected in different individuals.

  • Other vitamin deficiencies (vitamin B-12, niacin) can coexist with beriberi and can also contribute to the neurologic symptoms.

  • In cardiac failure, the differential diagnosis varies depending on the age group; congenital diseases and infections are most important in infants and children.

  • A high index of suspicion is needed for patients with chronic alcohol abuse, special diets, malabsorption, malnutrition, chronic dialysis, and diuretic use.

  • A high prevalence of the infantile form of beriberi with overlapping features of Leigh disease has been recognized in India. Infants in this cohort suffered from life-threatening CNS and respiratory symptoms that responded dramatically after thiamine infusion. Most patients had low transketolase activity but ironically brain imaging studies showed characteristic lesions and residual damage that prompted a differential diagnosis of Leigh disease. [21]

Differential Diagnoses