Diffusion weighted MR imaging of acute Wernicke's encephalopathy

Eur J Radiol. 2003 Mar;45(3):256-8. doi: 10.1016/s0720-048x(02)00009-8.


We report a case of Wernicke's encephalopathy in which diffusion-weighted MR images demonstrated symmetrical hyperintense lesions in the paraventricular area of the third ventricles and medial thalami. Apparent diffusion coefficient mapping showed isointensity in the aforementioned areas. Diffusion-weighted MR images may provide evidence of vasogenic edema associated with thiamine deficiency, proven in the histopathology of experimental animals. In addition, diffusion-weighted MRI has many advantages over T2 or FLARE-weighted brain MRI in detecting structural and functional abnormalities in Wernicke's encephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / diagnosis*
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / etiology