A case of kwashiorkor in the UK.Clin Nutr 1998; 17(3):131-3CN
A case of kwashiorkor in a British child of Caucasian origin is described. The 5-year-old boy was referred to hospital for investigation of a persistent anaemia, but on examination was found to have classical features of kwashiorkor. He was stunted with both height and weight below the fifth centile and had mild pitting oedema in both legs. His hair was pale and easily pluckable and a soft liver edge was palpable. Plasma albumin concentration was 16 g/l and the plasma amino acid pattern, which revealed markedly reduced levels of essential but normal to high non-essential amino acids, was similar to that described in kwashiorkor in Uganda. A dietary history revealed that for about 2 years the child's diet had contained very little protein but adequate energy and had been supplemented with multivitamin pills. There was no evidence of other pathology, neglect or abuse and the child responded rapidly to refeeding with a balanced diet.