History and admission findings: A previously healthy 66-year-old women presented with onset of general weakness, shortness of breath and significant weight loss. Due to appearance of jaundice, biliary obstruction had been ruled out by a CAT scan previous to the patients presentation in our practice.
Investigations: The laboratory tests already arranged by the patients general practitioner showed a pronounced pancytopenia with megaloblastic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia. The bone marrow aspiration revealed a hypercellular bone marrow with megaloblastic erythropoiesis. The diagnosis of pernicious anemia was confirmed by the low cobalamin (vitamin B12) serum level and the presence of atrophic gastritis.
Treatment: Pernicious anemia was treated with intramuscular injection of Cyanocobalamin (1000 µg) which resulted in an immediate reticulocytosis and a widely normalized blood cell count and bilirubin level four weeks after initiation of treatment.
Conclusion: The differential diagnosis of megaloblastic anemia covers a wide spectrum of diseases with different etiology. This case report demonstrates an example of a pernicious anemia with atypical and foudroyant clinical course.
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