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April 1980

Wernicke's Encephalopathy

Author Affiliations

Piazza Crimea 1.10131 Turin, Italy

Arch Neurol. 1980;37(4):255-256. doi:10.1001/archneur.1980.00500530093030

To the Editor.—  Along with several metabolic disorders and nutritional deficiencies, Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) has been shown to occur in patients intravenously nourished for prolonged periods of time with hypercaloric diets.1-3 The clinical course of three cases of WE observed during the last two years at S. Giovanni Hospital of Turin, Italy, adds weight to these reports.

Report of Cases.—  All of these patients underwent abdominal surgery and prolonged intravenous (IV) therapy consisting of 15 dL of 30% glucose solution daily. Ten units of insulin, electrolytes, and a multivitamin preparation containing 10 mg of thiamine were also given daily. The diagnosis of WE was based on clinical findings, but the prompt response to large dosages of thiamine hydrochloride seemed adequate to confirm the dianosis.2None of the patients was alcoholic or previously affected by neurological disorders. The symptoms were classic in two cases, consisting of ophthalmoplegia, nystagmus, and

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