Focal hyperemia in Wernicke’s encephalopathy: a preliminary arterial spin labeling MRI study

  • Sang-Bae KoEmail author
  • Tae Jung Kim
  • Chul-Ho Sohn
Short Report


Although a perturbed cerebral blood flow (CBF) has been reported in patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE), its clinical meaning is still elusive. A retrospective analysis of 10 patients (male, 6; mean age, 57.7 years) with WE between October 2012 and May 2018 was performed. Brain imaging was performed using fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI), and contrasted enhanced T1-weighted imaging. All patients had symmetric high signal intensity lesions in the vulnerable areas on FLAIR or DWI with focal hyperintensity on ASL-PWI (100% sensitivity). CBFlesion was variable (from 70 mL/100 g/min to 190.0 mL/100 g/min). CBFlesion/CBFwhite matter was elevated, ranging from 2.5 to 5.5. Focal hyperintensity on ASL in the vulnerable areas can be a diagnostic clue for WE.


Wernicke’s encephalopathy Hyperintensity Arterial spin labeling Perfusion-weighted imaging Hyperperfusion 



No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, College of MedicineSeoul National University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, College of MedicineSeoul National University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea

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