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Restrictive diet in a patient with irritable bowel syndrome leading to Wernicke encephalopathy

Authors
  • Wang, Qiang1
  • Charmchi, Zeinab1
  • George, Ilena C.2
  • 1 SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn, NY, USA , Brooklyn (United States)
  • 2 Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA, 02114, USA , Boston (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Gastroenterology
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 20, 2021
Volume
21
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12876-021-01758-w
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundWe present a case of a woman with a past medical history of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and anxiety, who presents with ophthalmoplegia, ataxia and memory loss, characteristic of Wernicke encephalopathy.Case presentationA 64-year-old woman presented with double vision, unsteady gait and memory loss. These symptoms began after 3 months on an unfortified restricted diet, which she initiated to alleviate IBS symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain demonstrated hyperintense T2-weighted signal in the dorsomedial aspect of bilateral thalami, periaqueductal grey matter and around the third ventricle. The patient’s visual symptoms improved significantly after thiamine supplementation, although her memory deficits persisted.ConclusionAlthough WE is often associated with chronic alcohol abuse, this case demonstrates the importance of recognizing WE in any patient with a restricted diet and subsequent timely initiation of thiamine.

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