Severe dysphagia as the presenting symptom of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in a non-alcoholic man.Neurol Sci. 2008 Feb; 29(1):45-6.NS
We present the case of a non-alcoholic man, who, following severe malnutrition, presented with dysphagia that necessitated gastrostomy tube placement. The patient subsequently developed encephalopathy, at which point thiamine deficiency was suspected and thiamine supplementation initiated. The encephalopathy and the dysphagia resolved, but the patient was left with a dense amnestic deficit consistent with Korsakoff syndrome. MRI at the time of the encephalopathy revealed lesions consistent with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This case represents a remarkable example of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome that for a prolonged time period had as its sole manifestation severe dysphagia. To our knowledge, there is only one similar case reported in the literature. This case serves to alert neurologists that isolated dysphagia may be the presenting symptom of this classic neurological syndrome even in the absence of alcoholism.