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Wernicke's encephalopathy.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
American family physician
Publication Date
Volume
41
Issue
4
Pages
1205–1209
Identifiers
PMID: 2181837
Source
Medline

Abstract

Wernicke's encephalopathy should be considered as a possible diagnosis in comatose and hypothermic patients. The classic triad of confusion, ophthalmoplegia (or nystagmus) and ataxia may be absent, and the history of alcohol abuse or other causes of thiamine deficiency may be unknown. Left untreated, acute Wernicke's encephalopathy has a 17 percent mortality rate. Since the morbidity from Wernicke's encephalopathy is potentially reversible with parenteral thiamine, and large doses of thiamine can be given without documented ill effects, it is recommended that all comatose or hypothermic patients, as well as those with more classic presentations of Wernicke's encephalopathy, be given parenteral thiamine before administration of glucose.

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