Wernicke encephalopathy


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to Wernicke encephalopathy: Korsakoff Syndrome, Wernicke aphasia, Thiamine deficiency

Wer·nic·ke syn·drome

(vern-ik'ĕ),
a common condition in patients with long-term alcoholism, resulting largely from thiamin deficiency and characterized by disturbances in ocular motility, pupillary alterations, nystagmus, and ataxia with tremors. An organic-toxic psychosis is often an associated finding, and Korsakoff syndrome often coexists; the characteristic cellular pathology is found in several areas of the brain, particularly the mammillary bodies and regions adjacent to the third and fourth ventricles.

Wer·nic·ke syn·drome

(vern-ik'ĕ),
a common condition in patients with long-term alcoholism, resulting largely from thiamin deficiency and characterized by disturbances in ocular motility, pupillary alterations, nystagmus, and ataxia with tremors. An organic-toxic psychosis is often an associated finding, and Korsakoff syndrome often coexists; the characteristic cellular pathology is found in several areas of the brain, particularly the mammillary bodies and regions adjacent to the third and fourth ventricles.

encephalopathy

(en-sef?a-lop'a-the) [ encephalo- + -pathy]
Generalized brain dysfunction marked by varying degrees of impairment of speech, cognition, orientation, and arousal. In mild instances, brain dysfunction may be evident only during specialized neuropsychiatric testing. In severe instances, e.g., the last stages of hepatic encephalopathy, the patient may be unresponsive even to unpleasant stimuli.

acute lead encephalopathy

A syndrome seen mostly in children who have absorbed a large amount of lead. Initially there are clumsiness, vertigo, ataxia, headache, insomnia, restlessness, and irritability. As the syndrome progresses, vomiting, agitation, confusion, convulsions, and coma will occur. A sudden, marked increase in intracranial pressure accompanies these symptoms. Sequelae include permanent damage to the central nervous system, causing mental retardation, electroencephalogram abnormalities, cerebral palsy, and optic atrophy.

Treatment

Exposure to lead must be discontinued. Corticosteroids and intravenous mannitol (20% solution) will relieve increased intracranial pressure. Lead can be removed from the body by giving dimercaprol (BAL) and calcium disodium edetate in a carefully administered doses. Convulsions may be controlled with phenobarbital, hydantoin, or diazepam. Hydration should be maintained with intravenous administration of fluids; solutions containing sodium should be avoided. Oral fluids or food should not be given for at least 3 days.

bovine spongiform encephalopathy

Abbreviation: BSE
A progressive neurological disease of cattle, marked by spongelike changes in the brain and spinal cord and associated with rapid and fatal deterioration. Synonym: mad cow disease See: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Etiology

BSE is found in cattle that have been fed offal. A prion is thought to be the cause.

Prevention

Because of the possible link between BSE and rapidly fatal neurological diseases in humans, many countries have banned the use of ruminant proteins in the preparation of cattle feed.

early infantile epileptic encephalopathy with suppression bursts

Abbreviation: EIEE
Ohtahara syndrome.

hepatic encephalopathy

Portal-systemic encephalopathy.

HIV encephalopathy

AIDS-dementia complex.

hypertensive encephalopathy

The abrupt onset of headache and altered mental status that may occur with sudden and extreme elevations in blood pressure (usually diastolic pressures greater than 125 mm Hg). The altered mental states include irritability, confusion, convulsions, and/or coma. Nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances are common. The symptoms resolve as the blood pressure is brought under control. Hypertensive encephalopathy is an emergency that requires immediate treatment, usually with intravenous medications.
Synonym: posthypoxia syndrome

hypoxic encephalopathy

Neurological damage due to deprivation of oxygen or blood or of both to the brain for several minutes. The damage may range from a transient loss of short-term memory to persistent vegetative coma. Many conditions can result in an oxygen deficiency in the brain, including carbon monoxide inhalation, cardiac arrest, hypotensive episodes of any kind, e.g., any form of shock, near-drowning, and suffocation. If patients are not rapidly revived and oxygenation restored, the hippocampus, and later the other cerebral structures, may be permanently injured and the patient may suffer irreversible brain damage. Synonym: hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Hypoxic encephalopathy.

metabolic encephalopathy

An alteration of brain function or consciousness due to failure of other internal organs. In the hospital, metabolic encephalopathy is among the most common causes of altered mental status. Renal failure, liver injury, electrolyte or acid-base abnormalities, hypoxia, hypercarbia, and inadequate brain perfusion caused by a failing heart are but some of the medical conditions that may produce treatable encephalopathies.

Symptoms

Confusion, irritability, seizures, and coma are common findings.

perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy

Brain damage to newborn infants due to insufficient oxygenation and blood flow during delivery. Affected newborns have persistently low Apgar scores and need prolonged resuscitation; they are also affected by coma, lethargy, floppy musculature, seizures, acidosis, and/or absent reflexes. The long-term effects of asphyxia on the child can include impaired cognition, motor function, vision, and altered behavior.

portal-systemic encephalopathy

Abbreviation: PSE
Brain dysfunction in patients with chronic liver disease and portal hypertension, in which chemicals that the liver normally detoxifies are shunted past it and left to circulate in the blood. Some patients are asymptomatic; others have mild impairments in memory, calculation, speech, affect, or judgment. Severely affected patients may lapse into coma.
Synonym: hepatic encephalopathy See: asterixis

subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy

Binswanger disease.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Encephalopathy marked by rapidly developing dementia or the sudden onset of psychiatric illnesses, often with myoclonus, ataxia, and aphasia. Death may occur within months of onset. These illnesses are believed to be caused by prions. Examples include kuru, mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Wernicke encephalopathy

See: Wernicke, Carl

Wernicke,

Karl, German neurologist, 1848-1905.
Gayet-Wernicke syndrome - Synonym(s): Wernicke syndrome
Wernicke aphasia - impairment in the comprehension of spoken and written words. Synonym(s): Bastian aphasia; sensory aphasia
Wernicke area - Synonym(s): Wernicke center
Wernicke center - the region of the cerebral cortex thought to be essential for understanding and formulating coherent, propositional speech. Synonym(s): sensory speech center; Wernicke area; Wernicke field; Wernicke region; Wernicke zone
Wernicke cramp - psychogenic muscle cramp. Synonym(s): cramp neurosis
Wernicke disease - Synonym(s): Wernicke syndrome
Wernicke encephalopathy - Synonym(s): Wernicke syndrome
Wernicke field - Synonym(s): Wernicke center
Wernicke radiation - the massive, fanlike fiber system passing from the lateral geniculate body of the thalamus to the visual cortex. Synonym(s): optic radiation
Wernicke reaction - in hemianopia, a reaction due to damage of the optic tract, consisting in loss of pupillary constriction when the light is directed to the blind side of the retina. Synonym(s): Wernicke sign
Wernicke region - Synonym(s): Wernicke center
Wernicke sign - Synonym(s): Wernicke reaction
Wernicke syndrome - a condition encountered in chronic alcoholics, characterized by disturbances in ocular motility, pupillary alterations, nystagmus, and ataxia with tremors. Synonym(s): Gayet disease; Gayet-Wernicke syndrome; superior hemorrhagic polioencephalitis; Wernicke disease; Wernicke encephalopathy
Wernicke zone - Synonym(s): Wernicke center
Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome - the coexistence of Wernicke and Korsakoff syndromes.
Wernicke-Mann hemiplegia - extremity hemiplegia that is partial. Synonym(s): Wernicke-Mann paralysis
Wernicke-Mann paralysis - Synonym(s): Wernicke-Mann hemiplegia

Wernicke encephalopathy

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
References in periodicals archive ?
Prompt diagnostic consideration for Wernicke encephalopathy and empiric thiamine allowed our patient to have minimum morbidity and rapid reversal of his symptoms.
Magnetic resonance reflects the pathological evolution of Wernicke encephalopathy.
Wernicke encephalopathy is a reversible condition caused by thiamine deficiency.
Wernicke encephalopathy manifests as encephalopathy, oculomotor dysfunction, and gait ataxia.