Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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CASE REPORT
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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-44  

Primary biliary cirrhosis complicated by transverse myelitis in a patient without Sjögren’s syndrome

V Papadopoulos1, A Micheli1, D Nikiforidis2, Konstantinos Mimidis1,  
1 First Department of Internal Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
2 Department of Neurology, University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Greece

Correspondence Address:
Konstantinos Mimidis
First Department of Internal Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace
Greece

Abstract

Transverse myelitis is an acute inflammatory process, affecting one or more segments of the spinal cord. Its association with primary biliary cirrhosis has been documented in only four cases – all along with Sjögren’s syndrome. Herein, we report for the first time, a patient who developed recurrent acute transverse myelitis in association with primary biliary cirrhosis without any clinical or histological indication of Sjögren’s syndrome. A 42-year-old woman with primary biliary cirrhosis developed acute onset quadriparesis and urinary retention. Diagnostic evaluation excluded the presence of Sjögren’s syndrome, other autoimmune syndromes, infections and multiple sclerosis. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spinal cord disclosed signal intensity abnormalities from C1 to T2 after gadolinium enhancement. As diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis was prominent, the patient was treated with intravenous methylprednisolone. The patient had a fair outcome despite an early recurrence of the symptoms after treatment withdrawal.



How to cite this article:
Papadopoulos V, Micheli A, Nikiforidis D, Mimidis K. Primary biliary cirrhosis complicated by transverse myelitis in a patient without Sjögren’s syndrome.J Postgrad Med 2005;51:43-44


How to cite this URL:
Papadopoulos V, Micheli A, Nikiforidis D, Mimidis K. Primary biliary cirrhosis complicated by transverse myelitis in a patient without Sjögren’s syndrome. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2005 [cited 2022 May 21 ];51:43-44
Available from: https://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2005/51/1/43/14023


Full Text

Transverse myelitis (TM) is an acute or subacute focal inflammatory disorder of the spinal cord affecting motor, sensory and autonomic function.[1] Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and lumbar puncture usually show evidence of inflammatory process.[2] TM is an uncommon, well-described neurological manifestation of autoimmune diseases. Its association with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) has been documented in only four cases - all along with Sjögren's syndrome (SS).[3] Herein, we report the first case of PBC-related TM without any clinical or histological indications of SS.

 Case History



A 42-year-old Caucasian female was admitted to our hospital in December 2002 for severe myalgia, headache, neck stiffness and low grade fever over the last 5 days. Her medical history was significant for PBC since 2001, based upon the presence of anti-mitochondrial antibodies and a liver histology suggestive of PBC Stage II-III: mild chronic portal inflammation with bridging fibrosis, bile duct destruction, focal granulomas without necrosis and bile ductular proliferation. Her medication consisted of ursodeoxycholic acid, cholestyramine and vitamins D and K.

On admission, her blood pressure was 130/80 mmHg, pulse rate 96/min, and body temperature 37.1 oC. On the 7th day of her hospital stay the patient started complaining of low back pain and gradually aggravated weakness and numbness in both the lower extremities. Neurological evaluation revealed motor weakness of both upper and lower extremities with reduced tactile sensation being worse in the right arm and left leg, indicative of level C5 and below. A bilaterally positive Babinski sign was noted. No cognitive or cranial nerves disturbances were noted. During the following four days a gradually aggravated paralysis prevented her from moving the lower extremities. Simultaneously, she developed urinary retention necessitating urinary bladder catheterisation.

Laboratory work-up revealed normal hematocrit, white blood cell counts and platelets and an increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (23 mm/hr). Subsequent ELISA-based serological tests showed the presence of anti-nuclear (titre 1/160), anti-mitochondrial (titre 1/320) and anti-Ro (SS-A) (titre 5.6 U/ml, normal et al.[4] The autoimmune nature of the TM process combined with the absence of a well-defined autoimmune process other than the underlying PBC, allows us to hypothesize that TM was really PBC-related in this patient.

The prognosis of TM is variable, with about one-third of the patients progressing to a syndrome indistinguishable from spinal muscular atrophy. Our patient's rapid primary response, in spite of the very acute course of the disease, may be well ascribed to the early use of methylprednisolone.[11]

References

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