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A malnourished patient that received intravenous hyperalimentation (IVH) without inorganic phosphate (IP) developed hypophosphataemia and acute sensorimotor neuropathy. F waves in the peripheral nerve trunk were absent or diminished, while nerve conduction velocities were nearly normal. The sural nerve biopsy revealed the presence of some subperineurial oedema and mild axonal atrophy. Prompt IP administration reversed the patients’ neurological symptoms and normalised F waves. Our data suggest that hypophosphataemia plays a role in the pathogenesis of neuropathy that develops in patients following IVH without IP.
Intravenous glucose administration is the most common cause of hypophosphataemia in hospitalised patients.1 While most of these cases are asymptomatic, severe hypophosphataemia, when combined with phosphorus depletion, can cause acute neuropathy that mimics Guillain–Barré syndrome. However, prompt IP administration can reverse this clinical condition. While there have been several reports of acute neuropathies caused by hypophosphataemia, most are anecdotal and no report has described an associated peripheral nerve pathology. Thus the clinical and pathological features of acute neuropathy that develops as a result of hypophosphataemia have not been well characterised.
A 60-year-old Japanese man who had suffered from diabetes for 5 years and a prior myocardial infarction was admitted to our hospital with melaena and diarrhoea. Colonoscopy confirmed a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. Despite treatment with mesalamine and low dose prednisolone, the diarrhoea did …