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
- REBEL EM Post: Wernicke Encephalopathy
- ER Cast: What You Don’t Know About Wernicke’s Encephalopathy
- LITFL: Thiamine Deficiency
- EMRAP: Remember to Take Your Vitamins
Post Peer Reviewed By: Salim R. Rezaie, MD (Twitter: @srrezaie)
Cite this article as: Anand Swaminathan, "REBEL Core Cast 40.0 – Wernicke Encephalopathy", REBEL EM blog, September 16, 2020. Available at: https://rebelem.com/rebel-core-cast-40-0-wernicke-encephalopathy/.
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Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at St. Joe's Regional Medical Center (Paterson, NJ)
REBEL EM Associate Editor and Author