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29.10.2018 | Case Report | Ausgabe 6/2019

Skeletal Radiology 6/2019

Scurvy: an unusual complication of paediatric cancer treatment

Skeletal Radiology > Ausgabe 6/2019
Iain Irvine, Triona Walshe, Michael Capra, Roisin Hayes


Scurvy is a disease that is rarely encountered in modern medicine. A condition that was classically associated with sailors, its incidence has decreased dramatically since the discovery of its association with vitamin C deficiency. We present the case of a 2-year-old boy, whose treatment for neuroblastoma was complicated by gastrointestinal disease, which necessitated enteral feeding. While still undergoing treatment, he started to complain about increasing pain in his lower limbs, which appeared to be markedly tender on palpation. Radiographic findings suggested a diagnosis of scurvy, which was subsequently confirmed on serum biochemistry. This was an unexpected finding, as the child had been receiving adequate vitamin C in his enteral feeds. However, his absorption had become severely impaired due to pseudomembranous gastritis and enteritis, leading to his deficient state. He significantly improved after intravenous ascorbic acid replacement and demonstrated a full recovery, both clinically and radiologically. This case highlights the importance of considering scurvy in the differential diagnosis for at-risk patients. Early recognition can facilitate the simple treatment of this potentially serious condition.

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