Case Report

Hyperemesis gravidarum complicated by Wernicke encephalopathy

  • Mehmet Güney
  • Evrim Erdemoğlu
  • Tamer Mungan

Turk J Obstet Gynecol 2008;5(2):134-136


Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) is a potentially fatal but reversible medical emergency. WE usually remains unrecognized in obstetric patients. Aim of the present study is to report a rare case of hyperemesis gravidarum that is complicated by WE.


A 29 years-old, gravida 2, para 1 woman was admitted to Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Süleyman Demirel University in 2007 with an one week history of convulsions and confusion. The patient had nausea and vomiting accompanied by weight loss of 8 kg since she was pregnant. Symptoms of nausea and vomiting became severe in the last weeks. The patient had ataxia, nystagmus, confusion and general muscle weakness. Laboratory examinations were normal, except potassium levels (2.4 mmol/l) and ketonuria. There was no diagnosed lesion in the radiological examinations. The patient was diagnosed as WE, and she had replacement therapy with potassium and thiamine for 7 seven days. The patient responded well and was discharged.


Hyperemesis gravidarum may cause WE which can be diagnosed clinically. Thiamine should be supplemented to pregnant women with prolonged vomiting to prevent development of WE.

Keywords: Convulsion, Hiperemesis gravidarum, Thiamin, Wernicke encephalopathy..