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Nutr Hosp. 2010 Nov-Dec;25(6):1034-6.

Wernicke's encephalopathy induced by total parental nutrition.

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Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital Infanta Cristina, Badajoz, España.


Wernicke's encephalopathy is an acute neurological syndrome due to thiamine deficiency, which is characterized by a typical triad of mental status changes, oculomotor dysfunction and ataxia. Despite the fact that Wernicke's encephalopathy, in developed countries, is frequently associated with chronic alcoholism, there have been a number of published cases associating this encephalopathy with parenteral feeding without vitamin supplementation. Diagnosis is primarily a clinical one, and can be supported by laboratory tests and imaging studies; treatment should start as soon as possible, for the morbidity and mortality (almost 20%) associated with this syndrome is high. Thiamine supplementation, along with other vitamins, is recommended for patients in risk of developing this syndrome.

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