A Case of Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency Resulting From Malnutrition

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Pseudocholinesterase deficiencies occur because of both genetic and acquired factors. We present the case of a patient with a history of bariatric surgery and severe malnutrition who subsequently developed prolonged neuromuscular blockade after succinylcholine administration. She had markedly decreased pseudocholinesterase levels at the time of the incident, but her motor function returned to normal with supportive care. After aggressive nutritional support over multiple weeks, her pseudocholinesterase levels drastically improved. For those patients in a poor nutritional state who experience an unexpected episode of apnea or prolonged neuromuscular blockade, practitioners must always consider malnutrition-induced pseudocholinesterase deficiency as a possible etiology.

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