Vitamin a deficiency in a newborn resulting from maternal hypovitaminosis A after biliopancreatic diversion for the treatment of morbid obesity

Sergio Huerta, Lisa M. Rogers, Zhaoping Li, David Heber, Carson Liu, Edward H. Livingston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) has been advocated for the treatment of morbid obesity. This procedure has the theoretical advantage that patients retain normal eating capacity and lose weight irrespective of their eating habits. However, vitamin deficiencies may develop because BPD causes malabsorption. Objective: This report describes a 40-y-old mother and her newborn infant, who developed vitamin A deficiency as a result of iatrogenic maternal malabsorption after BPD. Our primary objective is to show that BPD patients need close follow-up and lifelong micronutrient supplementation to prevent nutrient deficiencies in themselves and their offspring. Design: The medical records of the mother and infant were reviewed, and their clinical course was followed until 10 mo postpartum. The mother was also interviewed on several occasions about her medical care, follow-up, and supplemental vitamin use. Results: The mother developed night blindness with undetectable serum vitamin A concentrations in the third trimester of her pregnancy. Her vitamin A deficiency was untreated until she delivered her infant. At delivery, the infant also had vitamin A deficiency. He may have permanent retinal damage, but this is still unclear because the ophthalmologic examination performed at 2 mo of age was inconclusive. Conclusions: Complications of BPD may take many years to develop, and the signs and symptoms may be subtle. Because of the malabsorption that results from BPD, patients need lifelong follow-up and appropriate vitamin supplementation to prevent deficiencies. These nutrient deficiencies can also affect the offspring of female BPD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-429
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Hypovitaminosis A
  • Malabsorption
  • Morbid obesity
  • Neonatal nutrition
  • Night blindness
  • Vitamin A deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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