Refractory Hypotension in a Patient with Wernicke's Encephalopathy

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A 57-year-old male patient with gastric carcinoma underwent radical distal gastrectomy type II + Braun anastomosis, and received total parenteral nutrition for 10 days after surgery, followed by small amounts of semi-liquid nutrition for 3 days and liquid nutrition for 2 days. The patient developed refractory hypotension for more than 1 week in the early course of disease, and on Day 15 after surgery presented with characteristic signs of Wernicke's encephalopathy, including diplopia and mental confusion. The hypotension did not improve despite appropriate fluid replacement soon after admission. Treatment with moderate dose of thiamine for 3 months partly relieved ophthalmoplegia and confusion, but not Korsakoff syndrome. This extraordinary presentation with refractory hypotension and the unusual course of the disease encouraged us to present this case.

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