A Case Report on Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome


Affiliations

  • Dr. Vasantrao Pawar Medical College Hospital and Research Center, Hospital and Research centre, Nashik, Maharashtra, 422003, India
  • Dr. Vasantrao Pawar Medical College Hospital and Research Center, Hospital and Research Centre, Nashik, Maharashtra, 422003, India

Abstract

Background: Alcohol use is one of the most serious problems in public health and the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is one of the gravest consequences of alcoholism. Post-mortem studies suggest that Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome occurs in 12.5% of dependent drinkers and in 2% of the general population. Korsakoff Syndrome is an amnestic disorder generally followed by untreated Wernicke's Encephalopathy. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is most commonly a post-mortem diagnosis. Aim and Objective: To report a case of Korsakoff Syndrome since the clinical presentation is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Case description: 50 year old male, drinking heavily since 25 years presented with complaints of forgetfulness, talking irrelevantly since last 18 months. Patient developed symptoms of confusion, ataxia, and altered behaviour 2 years back, for which he was treated as a case of encephalitis and not treated with thiamine. He later progressed to show symptoms of amnesia. On examination, patient showed recent memory deficit with anterograde and variable retrograde amnesia with confabulations. Neurological examination revealed absent deep tendon reflexes and signs of peripheral neuropathy. MRI brain showed global cortical atrophy. The sequence of events in this case study demonstrates the possible effects of long term alcohol use, namely Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Highlights of the medical model of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome will be subsequently presented. Lastly, suggestions for treatment and prevention of further damage will be discussed.

Keywords

Chronic Alcoholism, Wernicke's Encephalopathy, Amnestic Syndrome, Thiamine Deficiency.

Subject Discipline

Neurology

Full Text:

References

Harper C. Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency and associated brain damage is still common throughout the world and prevention is simple and safe. Eur J Neurol: the official journal of the European Federation of Neurological Societies. 2006; 13(10):1078–1082.

Torvik A, Lindboe CF, Rogde S. Brain lesions in alcoholics: a neuropathological study with clinical correlations. J Neurol Sci. 1982; 56(2–3):233–248.

Crum RM, Anthony JC, Bassett SS, Folstein MF. Population–based norms for the mini–mental state examination by age and educational level. JAMA: J Am Med Assoc. 1993; 269(18):2386–2391.

Lingford–Hughes AR, Welch S, Nutt DJ. Evidence–based guidelines for the pharmacological management of subst-ance misuse, addiction and comorbidity: recommendations from the british association for psychopharmacology. J Psychopharmacol. 2004; 18(3):293–335.

Victor M, Adams RD, Collins GH. The Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome: a clinical and pathological study of 245 patients, 82 with post–mortem examinations. Contemp Neurol Ser. 1971; 7:1–206.

Fama R, Pfefferbaum A, Sullivan EV. Visuoperceptual learning in alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006; 30(4):680–687.

Lennane KJ. Management of moderate to severe alcohol–related brain damage (Korsakoff syndrome). The Med J Aust. 1986; 145(3–4):136, 141–143.

Kopelman MD, Thomson AD, Guerrini I, Marshall EJ. The Korsakoff syndrome: clinical aspects, psychology and treatment. Alcohol and alcohol. 2009; 44(2):148–154.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.