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Revista chilena de obstetricia y ginecología

versión impresa ISSN 0048-766Xversión On-line ISSN 0717-7526


NIETO, Álbaro José; BURGOS, Juan Manuel; ECHEVERRY, Lina Marcela  y  ESCOBAR, María Fernanda. Encefalopatía de Wernicke secundario a hiperémesis gravídica: la importancia del diagnóstico temprano. Rev. chil. obstet. ginecol. [online]. 2018, vol.83, n.3, pp.295-301. ISSN 0048-766X.


Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a frequent condition in pregnancy, which can result in potentially lethal complications such as Wernicke encephalopathy (WE), a syndrome that can be translated into a high maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality if it is recognized and treated late.


To describe the first case of WE due to HG in Colombia and to review the published literature about its diagnosis and treatment.

Materials and methods:

We describe a case of WE due to HG with an interdisciplinary approach. A review of the literature was performed with the terms “Wernicke's encephalopathy”, “hyperemesis gravidarum” and “pregnancy” including case reports, case series, review articles, original investigations or letters to the editor in English, Spanish and French, where the method and time of the diagnosis, treatment regimen and sequelae were analyzed.


Sixty-nine publications were included and 89 cases were identified. In 23 of them had a gestational loss, only in 12.4% of the cases the thiamine level was reported, in which 90% was diminished and in the cases where the final functional status was reported in 5.9% of the pregnant woman died.


WE due to HG is a potentially lethal complication. In any neurological disturbance and history of persistent emesis it should be suspected. Timely interdisciplinary diagnosis and treatment are essential to reduce the risk of sequelae that limit functional capacity with a high impact on quality of life.

Palabras clave : Wernicke encephalopathy; Hyperemesis gravidarum; Thiamine; Pregnancy.

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