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March 1968

Wernicke's Encephalopathy: A Complication of Chronic Hemodialysis

Author Affiliations

Gainesville, Fla
From the departments of neurology (Dr. Lopez) and pathology (Dr. Collins), College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

Arch Neurol. 1968;18(3):248-259. doi:10.1001/archneur.1968.00470330038003

FUNCTIONAL derangement of neurological function as a complication of renal failure is a well-known, though incompletely understood, occurrence.1-3 With the exception of peripheral neuropathy,4 structural lesions of the nervous system of a specific nature have been observed infrequently.3 More recently, however, in association with the newer methods of therapy for chronic renal disease, a variety of neurological complications have arisen, some of which are associated with morphologic changes within the central nervous system. Included among these are the infections which arise presumably as a result of immunosuppressive therapy,5-7 and degenerations which may be related to nutritional deficiency.7,8

The occurrence of central pontine myelinolysis in patients of this type has been interpreted by some as the result of a nutritional deficiency.8 Although opinion concerning the etiologic basis for central pontine myelinolysis is divided,9-13 there is a substantial body of evidence to suggest a

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