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A case of Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis successfully treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and methylprednisolone after unsuccessful immunoadsorption plasmapheresis

DOI: 10.4236/ojcd.2013.31001    3,680 Downloads   7,002 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

 

Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis (BBE) is a rare post-infectious neurological syndrome for which an effective treatment strategy has not been established. Here, we report a case of a 71-year-old male who suffered from an upper respiratory tract infection, and 7 days later, developed numbness of the bilateral upper and lower limbs, unsteady gait and dysarthria. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was normal, nerve conduction study and cerebral spinal fluid analysis were nonspecific. Based on the clinical features, we tentatively diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome and started immunoadsorption plasmapheresis. However, consciousness progressively declined to coma level within 10 days. Electroencephalogram showed diffuse slowing, and auditory evoked brainstem response (ABR) demonstrated absence of waves II, III and V. Serum anti-GQ1b IgG autoantibody and anti-GM1b IgG autoantibody were negative. Subsequently, we diagnosed BBE, and clinical symptoms resolved after treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin and methyllprednisolone. On day 62, neurological symptoms were remarkably alleviated with an improvement in ABR. Our observations suggest that immunoadsorption plasmapheresis should be used only when anti-ganglioside antibodies are detected. Combination therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin and methylprednisolone or plasma exchange is recommended as initial therapy.

 

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Imai, T. , Shimizu, T. , Hagiwara, Y. , Hirayama, T. and Hasegawa, Y. (2013) A case of Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis successfully treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and methylprednisolone after unsuccessful immunoadsorption plasmapheresis. Open Journal of Clinical Diagnostics, 3, 1-4. doi: 10.4236/ojcd.2013.31001.

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