Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Wernicke's encephalopathy: a more common disease than realised. A neuropathological study of 51 cases.
  1. C Harper


    During a four year peirod, 51 cases of Wernicke's encephalopathy were diagnosed at necropsy, an incidence of 1.7% of all necropsies performed at the Royal Perth Hospital and by the Perth City coroner. Only seven had been diagnosed during life. Many of the patients died suddenly and unexpectedly, apparently as a result of haemorrhagic brainstem lesions, typical of acute Wernicke's encephalopathy, since no other cause of death was found. There was a high incidence of epilepsy and four patients were hypothermic. The diagnosis of Wernicke's encephalopathy may be missed at necropsy unless the brain is examined histologically. Cerebral atrophy and ventricular dilatation were common findings. This is a more common disease than is generally recognised, one which can be readily treated and, more importantly, prevented by adequate nutrition.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.