Thiamine supplementation in hospitalized patients with altered mental status: does it help?

Daniel J. Zhou, Kaeli K. Samson, Navya Joseph, Ismail Fahad, Matthew V. Purbaugh, Brian J. Villafuerte-Trisolini, Neeharica Kodali, Purnima Guda, Wendie Grogan, Urmila Mukherjee, Sachin Kedar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To describe thiamine-prescribing patterns and to study the association of thiamine supplementation with clinical outcomes in hospitalized patients with altered mental status (AMS). METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all adult hospitalized patients with AMS with index admission in calendar year 2017. We studied the association of a) supplemental thiamine and b) timing of thiamine relative to glucose, with hospital outcomes - length of stay (LOS), 90-day readmission rates, and mortality rates - using linear, logistic, and extended Cox models, respectively. We also modeled association of supplemental thiamine on time to resolution of AMS using extended Cox models in patients admitted with AMS. RESULTS: Of 985 patients, 178 (18%) received thiamine, including 123 (12.5%) who received thiamine before, with, or without glucose (thiamine first). We identified 365 (37%) patients who received intravenous glucose before or without thiamine (glucose first). We found that patients who received glucose first had longer LOS and higher rate of in-hospital deaths compared to those who did not. Patients who received thiamine supplementation had longer LOS compared to those who did not. There were no significant differences in other hospital outcomes or AMS resolution by discharge compared to their respective reference groups. CONCLUSION: Although thiamine supplementation was not associated with better hospital or cognitive outcomes, we do not have enough evidence to suggest a change in current practice. Thiamine must be administered prior to glucose in hospitalized patients with AMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalHospital practice (1995)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Thiamine
  • altered mental status
  • encephalopathy
  • hospitalization
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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