Acute porphyrias: Clinical spectrum of hospitalized patients
Objective: To determine characteristics, clinical features and triggers of acute porphyria in hospitalized patients presenting to a tertiary care center in Pakistan. Design: Case series. Place and Duration of Study: The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from 1988 to 2003. Patients and Methods: Case records of 26 patients hospitalized with diagnosis were identified through computerized hospital patients' data. The diagnosis of acute porphyria was based on pertinent clinical features and laboratory investigations after exclusion of other alternative diagnosis and patients previously diagnosed as porphyric. The data was analyzed through SPSS software version 11.0. Results: Twelve patients (46.2%) were males. Mean age was 21 years. Most common manifestation were gastrointestinal (n=22; 88.5%) followed by neurological symptoms (n=14; 54%). Neurological manifestations included seizures (n=9; 34.6%) and neuropathy (n=6; 23%). One patient presented with depression and insomnia. Family history was positive in (n=8; 30.8%). Eighteen (69%) had history of previous attacks at their presentation to the hospital. Most common precipitating factor was 'eating outside' (n=18; 69%). Conclusion: Porphyrias are uncommon and cryptic group of diseases. This study shows a slightly different gender distribution, earlier onset of symptoms, higher number of neuropsychiatric symptoms (especially seizures), more distal neuropathies and different precipitant in the studied subset of patients than described previously in the western studies.
Available from: Alina Gonzalez-Quevedo
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ABSTRACT: We present a 21 year old woman treated with carbamazepine because of epileptic seizures. She was evaluated at the epilepsy section for possible seizures associated with abdominal pain, psychosis, dysautonomic features and elevated hepatic enzymes. Diagnosis was based on clinical features and biochemical determination of urinary porphobilinogen and absence of fluorescence for porphyrin in blood sample and hepatic tissue. Conclusions: Acute Intermittent Porphyria constitutes a rare cause of symptomatic seizures but the association of seizures with abdominal pain, dysautonomic features, and psychosis suggest the disease and its recognition is very important because it is potentially mortal but suitable to improve with adequate treatment.
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