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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2001 Nov;41(4):453-6.

Wernicke's encephalopathy due to hyperemesis gravidarum: an under-recognised condition.

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Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ankara, Turkey.


We present a case of a 25-year-old woman with drowsiness, nystagmus, severe ataxia and areflexia, which developed six weeks after admission to an obstetric clinic for hyperemesis gravidarum. She had been treated with intravenous dextrose and electrolyte solutions and antiemetics. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed on the fifth day of her neurologic symptoms showed increased intensity in both thalami, periaqueductal grey matter, the floor of the fourth ventricle and superior cerebellar vermis in T2 weighted and FLAIR images. Clinical signs and MRI findings were consistent with the diagnosis of Wernicke's encephalopathy. On the third day of thiamine replacement, neurologic signs improved dramatically In addition to our case, we review 29 previously reported cases of Wernicke's encephalopathy associated with hyperemesis gravidarum, and emphasize the importance of thiamine supplementation to women with prolonged vomiting in pregnancy especially if they are given intravenous or parenteral nutrition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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