Papers And Originals

Beriberi heart disease in London

Br Med J 1969; 4 doi: (Published 04 October 1969) Cite this as: Br Med J 1969;4:25
  1. Edward Byrne-Quinn,
  2. Ch. Fessas


    Haemodynamic measurements before and after treatment are described in two patients with beriberi heart disease. The first patient had severe disease with a cardiac output of 17·3 litres per minute, which had returned to normal a month later. The second patient had moderate disease with a cardiac output of 7·4 litres per minute; a fall in this and a rise in systemic vascular resistance was found one and two hours after the intravenous injection of aneurine hydrochloride. The plasma pyruvate concentration was raised in the first patient but only slightly so in the second, in whom the pyruvate metabolism test was abnormal. The haemodynamic studies in both cases were of considerable help in making the diagnosis. The diagnosis of beriberi should be considered in any patient with heart disease who has a history of alcoholism, especially as prompt vitamin treatment is curative.