Article Text

Findings that shed new light on the possible pathogenesis of a disease or an adverse effect
Hypophosphataemic neuropathy during total parenteral nutrition

Summary

Intravenous glucose administration is the most common cause of hypophosphataemia in hospitalised patients. While most of these cases are asymptomatic, severe hypophosphataemia, when combined with phosphorus depletion, can cause acute neuropathy that mimics Guillain–Barré syndrome. A malnourished patient who received intravenous hyperalimentation (IVH) without intravenous 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.

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