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Rivista di Anestesia, Rianimazione, Terapia Antalgica e Terapia Intensiva

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2009 June;75(6):401-4

lingua: Inglese

Wernicke’s encephalopathy and pancreatic encephalopathy after necrotic-hemorrhagic pancreatitis. A case report

Zangheri E. 1, Pigna A. 1, Amanti E. 2, D’alessandro R. 3, Bova F. 1, Melotti R. M. 1, Di Nino G. 1

1 Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy;
2 Department of Anesthesiology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy;
3 Department of Neurology, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy


This case report describes a case of acute necrotic-hemorrhagic pancreatitis complicated by Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE) and stresses the importance of a correct dietetic regimen. A 39-year-old Chinese male patient with negative remote pathological anamnesis was hospitalized in the Medical Department with a diagnosis of gallstones. The clinical course was complicated with the onset of acute pancreatitis. Enteral fasting was imposed with intravenous feeding without vitamin supplementation. The progressive worsening of the clinical, radiodiagnostic and laboratory profile combined with deterioration in the state of consciousness promoted, on the 36th day exploratory laparotomy revealed necrotic-hemorrhagic pancreatitis. The patient was, therefore, admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in a deep coma. The recent medical history, neurological examination, and encephalic computed tomography suggested a revealing diagnosis of WE combined with pancreatic encephalopathy.

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