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Monday, May 14, 2018

Wernicke Encephalopathy

R.E.B.E.L. EM - Emergency Medicine Blog
R.E.B.E.L.EM - 14 May, 2018 - By Anand Swaminathan
"Definition: Encephalopathy that occurs secondary to thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. While Wernicke encephalopathy is reversible with treatment, it can progress to the irreversible Korsakoff’s syndrome if left untreated...
Take Home Points
  • Wernicke encephalopathy is characterized by ataxia, altered mental status and ophthalmoplegia but patients are unlikely to have all these components
  • Suspect Wernicke encephalopathy in any patient that is at risk of malnutrition or malabsorption and has any one of the classic symptoms
  • Prophylactic administration of thiamine 100 mg IV/IM to at risk patients can prevent development of the disease
  • Once Wernicke encephalopathy has developed, it must be treated with high-dose, IV thiamine"