Celiac disease in a teenager revealed with Wernicke Encephalopathy

Published on: 27th December, 2023

Background: Wernicke encephalopathy is an acute neurological condition defined by a clinical triad of ophthalmoplegia, ataxia, and confusion. This disease is due to thiamine deficiency.Case presentation: After persistent diarrhea and vomiting, a 15-year-old boy presented up-beating nystagmus, with binocular vertical diplopia and unstable gait. An etiological workup revealed a celiac disease. Magnetic resonance imaging showed bilateral periaqueductal region lesions. Treatment and discussion: Because of suspected Wernicke’s encephalopathy, the patient was treated with thiamine replacement and significant improvement of symptoms took place. Wernicke encephalopathy is a serious medical disorder with enormous morbidity and mortality. Evaluation should include patient history with a physical and ophthalmologic examination and laboratory workup with appropriate imaging.Conclusion: Undiagnosed celiac disease can lead to malabsorption of vitamin B1 causing acute symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy.
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