September 16, 2020

REBEL Core Cast 40.0 – Wernicke Encephalopathy

Take Home Points

  • Wernicke encephalopathy is characterized by ataxia, altered mental status and ophthalmoplegia but patients are unlikely to have all these components
  • Suspect Wernicke encephalopathy in any patient that is at risk of malnutrition or malabsorption and has any one of the classic symptoms
  • Prophylactic administration of thiamine 100 mg IV/IM to at risk patients can prevent development of the disease
  • Once Wernicke encephalopathy has developed, it must be treated with high-dose, IV thiamine

REBEL Core Cast 40.0 – Wernicke Encephalopathy

Cite this article as: Anand Swaminathan, "REBEL Core Cast 40.0 – Wernicke Encephalopathy", REBEL EM blog, September 16, 2020. Available at:
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Anand Swaminathan

Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at St. Joe's Regional Medical Center (Paterson, NJ)
REBEL EM Associate Editor and Author

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