Alcoholic Liver Disease Among Patients with Wernicke Encephalopathy: A Multicenter Observational Study

Link to article at PubMed

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Nov 27;230:109186. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109186. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: data regarding the association between Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) are scarce in spite of alcohol consumption being the main risk factor for WE.

AIMS: to describe the frequency of ALD in a cohort of patients diagnosed with WE and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and to compare the characteristics of WE patients with and without ALD.

METHODS: we conducted an observational study in 21 centers through a nationwide registry of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine. WE Caine criteria were applied and demographic, clinical, and outcome variables were analyzed.

RESULTS: 434 patients were included in the study, of which 372 were men (85.7%), and the mean age was 55 ± 11.8 years. ALD was present in 162 (37.3%) patients and we found a higher percentage of cases with tremor, flapping and hallucinations in the ALD group. A total of 22 patients (5.0%) died during admission (7.4% with ALD vs 3.7% without ALD; P = 0.087). Among the ALD patients, a relationship between mortality and the presence of anemia (Odds ratio [OR]=4.6 Confidence interval [CI]95% 1.1-18.8; P = 0.034), low level of consciousness (OR=4.9 CI95% 1.1-21.2; P = 0.031) and previous diagnosis of cancer (OR=10.3 CI95% 1.8-59.5; P = 0.009) was detected. Complete recovery was achieved by 27 patients with ALD (17.8%) and 71 (27.8%) without ALD (P = 0.030).

CONCLUSION: the association of WE and ALD in patients with AUDs is frequent and potentially linked to differences in clinical presentation and to poorer prognosis, as compared to alcoholic patients with WE without ALD.

PMID:34864357 | DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109186

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