We report a case of a 24-year-old previously healthy Japanese man who presented to the emergency department due to cardiopulmonary arrest lasting for 4 min. He had complained of chest pain and worsening dyspnea but was well until 3 days before admission. He had no history of alcohol consumption. Marked lactic acidosis, high-output heart failure, and hypotension with widened pulse pressure led to a diagnosis of shoshin beriberi. The patient recovered successfully without any residual symptoms after appropriate thiamine therapy. Because of the complexity of the clinical presentation and the lack of rapid diagnostic tests, thiamine deficiency remains difficult to diagnose. In this patient, we suspected that shoshin beriberi was caused by long-term poor nutritional status secondary to a severe gambling addiction to Japanese pinball games, known as ‘pachinko’. Alcoholism, long-term intravenous alimentation, and diuretic use are well-known causes. We should not miss the opportunity for early intervention, even in young non-alcoholic patients such as this case. If left untreated, patients may die from cardiopulmonary collapse within hours of symptom onset. Thiamine should be administered as soon as suspicion for thiamine deficiency arises, such as in conditions of widened pulse pressure in a young patient.
Alcoholism, long-term intravenous alimentation, and diuretic use are well-known causes of thiamine deficiency. However the complexity of the clinical presentation and the lack of rapid diagnostic tests make its diagnosis difficult. Shoshin beriberi is a fulminant form of this disease. We should not miss opportunities for early intervention. Thiamine should be administered as soon as its deficiency is suspected, such as in conditions of widened pulse pressure especially in a young patient.
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Published online: December 12, 2022
Accepted: November 21, 2022
Received in revised form: November 17, 2022
Received: July 31, 2022
© 2022 Japanese College of Cardiology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.