Refeeding syndrome in adults with celiac crisis: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2018 Jan 31;12(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s13256-018-1566-6.


Background: Refeeding syndrome is a rare and life-threatening pathology with polyvisceral manifestations occurring in severely malnourished patients. It is rarely described in adults with celiac disease.

Case presentation: We report the case of a 28-year-old Tunisian woman followed up for celiac disease, who did not adhere to the gluten-free diet. She presented to our hospital with celiac crisis manifested by severe diarrhea, and metabolic and electrolyte disturbances. The treatment of electrolyte abnormalities, hydration, and nutritional support was marked by the occurrence on the fifth day of refeeding syndrome with psychomotor agitation followed by respiratory distress and a state of cardiogenic shock.

Conclusions: Refeeding syndrome is still under-recognized. It should be systematically prevented for high-risk patients. Nutritional support in patients with celiac crisis should be monitored carefully since the risk of refeeding syndrome is very high with a poor prognosis.

Keywords: Celiac crisis; Celiac disease; Refeeding Syndrome; feeding.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism
  • Diarrhea
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology*
  • Multiple Organ Failure / physiopathology
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Refeeding Syndrome / etiology*
  • Refeeding Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Refeeding Syndrome / therapy
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / etiology*
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / physiopathology
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy