What is the role of serum thiamine measurement in the evaluation 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

Serum thiamine levels have been used in case reports to confirm Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. However, studies have not directly examined the correlation between a critical serum thiamine level and the development of neurologic symptoms and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome itself. One small study did show that the serum thiamine level correlated well with cerebellar vermal atrophy. [41] For now, the role of serum thiamine levels remains uncertain, although it may eventually play a part in confirming the diagnosis of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and/or monitoring adequacy of treatment.


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