Thiamine Deficiency (Beriberi) Induced Polyneuropathy and Cardiomyopathy: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Charles Qiming Cui, Ling L. Qiu


Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient required for all living tissues. It can be found in high concentration inside the heart, kidneys, brain and skeletal muscles. A severe depletion is not commonly seen, except in cases of inadequate nutrition and/or alcoholism. The major manifestation of thiamine deficiency involves the nervous (dry beriberi, or neuropathy and/or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) and cardiovascular (wet beriberi or cardiomyopathy) systems. This report details the case of a female patient with severe thiamine deficiency secondary to dysphagia caused by radiation injury. She developed debilitating polyneuropathy and cardiomyopathy with decreased ejection fraction. Early recognition and adequate thiamine replacement led to a full recovery in this case. In addition, we will discuss the potential benefits of thiamine supplementation in treating congestive heart failure.

J Med Cases. 2014;5(5):308-311


Thiamine; Beriberi; Heart failure

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