Wernicke’s encephalopathy

Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a triad of: 
  • Opthalmoplegia 
  • Ataxia
  • Disturbance of consciousness and mental state 

It is caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency

Causes of thiamine deficiency include: 
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition 
  • Recurrent vomiting 
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Magnesium depletion
  • Peptic ulcer disease

Treatment is IV thiamine 

Prognosis: Untreated 20% will die and 85% will develop Korsakoff syndrome

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Secret collector of interesting anonymised ECGs. Fan of the Bath Photomarathon. Lover of cream teas. [Sarah Hudson] (Your Picture)