What is the mortality of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Mortality may be secondary to infections and hepatic failure, but some deaths are directly attributable to irreversible defects of severe and prolonged thiamine deficiency (eg, coma).

The mortality rate is up to 10-15% in severe cases. Since the presentation is variable and often clinically missed, the exact mortality rate is difficult to estimate. Prognosis depends on the stage of disease at presentation and prompt treatment. Unspecified infections were the cause of death in 77% of one cohort of Wernicke-Korsakoff patients. [33]


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