Article

Longitudinally disseminated spinal cord lesions (moth-eaten appearance) in varicella-zoster myelitis.

Department of Neurology, Sapporo City General Hospital, Japan.
Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 0.97). 01/2011; 50(18):2059-60. DOI: 10.2169/internalmedicine.50.5786
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Myelitis is a rare complication of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection and is more prevalent in immunocompromised individuals. Clinical features, outcomes, and presentations vary. The aim of the current study was to compare the clinical presentations of our patients with those reported in the literature, and to evaluate the differences in clinical features between immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients. A review of the literature on VZV myelitis was carried out by searching PUBMED from 1980 to 2012. Clinical features of our cases and those in the literature were compared. There were 5 cases at our hospital and 26 were reported in the literature. Seventeen patients were immunocompromised (54.8%), and most had acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Typical presentations (skin lesions followed by myelopathy at the corresponding level) were observed in 14 patients (45.2%). The immunocompromised patients were prone to atypical presentations (p<0.05). Outcomes were good in immunocompetent patients and relatively poor in immunocompromised patients (p<0.05). Anti-herpetic agents had no statistically significant effect on outcomes in immunocompromised patients (p=0.280), but could reduce mortality rate in AIDS patients (p<0.05). Immunocompromised individuals are susceptible to this disease, and prone to atypical presentations and poorer outcomes. Timely recognition and anti-herpes therapy may be beneficial to the outcomes. In the AIDS patients, anti-herpes therapy can reduce mortality effectively.
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