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|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 1752-1753
Nonalcoholic Wernicke Encephalopathy Post-Bariatric Surgery—“Bariatric Beriberi”
Praveen Kesav, Himanshu Soni, Syed Irteza Hussain, Seby John
Department of Neurology; Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
|Date of Submission||29-Nov-2019|
|Date of Decision||30-Nov-2019|
|Date of Acceptance||07-Feb-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Aug-2022|
Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kesav P, Soni H, Hussain SI, John S. Nonalcoholic Wernicke Encephalopathy Post-Bariatric Surgery—“Bariatric Beriberi”. Neurol India 2022;70:1752-3
A 22-year old male, teetotaller, four months post-sleeve gastrectomy for morbid obesity, presented with sub-acute-onset painless diplopia, gait unsteadiness, and dysphagia of 3 weeks duration. On neurological examination he had an inward deviation of both eyeballs, bilateral lateral rectus palsy with binocular horizontal diplopia, and gaze-evoked horizontal nystagmus. He had normal motor power and sensory exam with intact deep tendon reflexes, however, he was ataxic with cerebellar signs. Hematology investigations revealed low vitamin B1 (46.4 [range: 66.5–200] nmol/L). MRI of the brain showed bilateral symmetric T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) hyperintensities involving periventricular third ventricle and brainstem with T1 post-contrast enhancement [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b. A diagnosis of nonalcoholic post-bariatric surgery Wernicke encephalopathy (NAWE) was made as per the operational criteria for WE (Presence of two out of the following four signs—dietary deficiencies, oculomotor abnormalities, cerebellar dysfunction, and either altered mental state or mild memory impairment). He improved significantly with 3 days of parenteral thiamine, followed by oral maintenance doses.
|Figure 1: (a) T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences of MRI brain showing hyperintensities along the periventricular region of the third ventricle (short white arrow), tectal midbrain (thick white arrow) and nucleus prepositus hypoglossi in the dorsal medulla (long white arrow). (b) Post-contrast T1 sequences showing punctate contrast enhancement in the periventricular region of the third ventricle (thick white arrow) and patchy enhancement at the level of tectal plate of the midbrain (long white arrow)|
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Post-bariatric surgery NAWE (“bariatric beriberi”), being less common with restrictive procedures like sleeve gastrectomy,,,, usually manifests 4–12 weeks postoperatively, even though it can occur as late as 18–24 months. NAWE is distinct from classic WE, both clinically and from a neuroimaging standpoint. The triad of mental status changes, ocular and cerebellar dysfunctions are seen in 38–65% of NAWE as against 16–38% with WE.,,,, Atypical MRI neuroimaging findings involving cranial nerve nuclei and infratentorial lesions are more characteristic of NAWE, occurring along with typical sites of involvement in WE (thalamus, mamillary body, tectal plate, periaqueductal area)., Being a medical emergency, a high index of suspicion should be exercised in order to promptly diagnose NAWE with atypical imaging findings.
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