Recovery from Decreased Cerebral Blood Flow in Wernicke’s Encephalopathy Following Abstinence from Alcohol – a Case Report

Authors: Y. Suzuki;  K. Ogawa;  M. Oishi;  T. Mizutani
Authors‘ workplace: Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2010; 73/106(2): 187-189
Category: Case Report


There have been few reports of recovery from reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) in patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy. We report a 70‑year‑old patient with a 2-day history of increased irritability and minimal vocalisation. Neurological examination revealed no abnormal findings. He was diagnosed as having Wernicke’s encephalopathy, because both the blood thiamine concentration and erythrocyte transketolase activity were low. SPECT revealed CBF reduction in many regions of the brain. After thiamine treatment, he reported that he had abstained from alcohol. Two weeks later, all symptoms had resolved completely. SPECT was repeated one month after onset and the CBF reductions observed in the first examination had recovered to almost normal levels. These results suggest that thiamine treatment and abstinence from alcohol can result in recovery from decreased CBF in patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy, as long as the neurological symptoms are not severe.

Key words:
cerebral blood flow – single photon emission computed tomography – Wernicke’s encephalopathy – abstinence from alcohol


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Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology
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