What is the sensitivity and specificity of the Caine diagnostic criteria for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

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

While this broad definition would appear at first to be over-inclusive, in a follow-up study of a 106 alcoholic patients who underwent autopsy, the criteria had a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 100% for the diagnosis of Wernicke encephalopathy. [37]

In chronic alcoholic patients who meet the Caine criteria for Wernicke encephalopathy and have features of Korsakoff amnestic syndrome, a diagnosis of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome should be presumed.

These criteria have not been validated in nonalcoholic patients and a high-index of suspicion for thiamine deficiency and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome needs to be maintained in vulnerable populations.


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