Monday, December 15, 2008

Wernicke Encephalopathy---not just in alcoholics

Wernicke encephalopathy an internist's (and hospitalist's) dream, as treatment is easy and gratifying, while consequences of non-treatment are grave. Although usually discussed in the context of alcoholism, it can occur in a variety of settings of nutritional depletion. Examples reported in the literature include hyperemesis gravidarum and administration of TPN without thiamine supplementation. Nowadays it is increasingly seen following bariatric surgery. It usually occurs in the first month post operatively in the setting of protracted vomiting. The topic is reviewed in the Annals of Surgery, accessible via Medscape.

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