Recurrent episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea in a child can present as a diagnostic dilemma and be easily misdiagnosed as recurrent viral gastroenteritis episodes. Primary adrenal insufficiency can present with recurrent episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea with the presence of metabolic acidosis and can be life-threatening if left undiagnosed and untreated. A high index of suspicion should be kept for diagnosing primary adrenal insufficiency in a child presenting with recurrent episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea with laboratory evidence of metabolic acidosis and hypoglycaemia. Primary adrenal insufficiency, in a male child specifically, should raise alarm for X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). Very-long-chain fatty acids and confirmatory genetic testing for an ABCD1 gene mutation can help confirm the diagnosis. Addison’s disease often presents prior to the onset of the cerebral form of X-ALD. Early diagnosis of X-ALD allows for MRI screening for the development of cerebral disease in its early stages when treatment with stem cell transplant can halt the disease and be lifesaving.
- Adrenal disorders
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Contributors PG, SRK and BP were all involved in planning, writing and designing of the case report. PG, SRK and BP took care of the patient at one point during the patient’s hospitalisation and outpatient follow-up. All authors contributed to the editing of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.