Friedreich-Like Ataxia as an Initial Manifestation of Mitochondrial DNA 8344A > G Mutation
A previously healthy 10-year-old girl presented with subacute onset of ataxia and acute-onset cardiac and pulmonary failure. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain showed symmetric T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery hyperintensities in the dorsal pons, medulla, and inferior cerebellar peduncles; nerve conduction velocities and electromyography demonstrated a sensorimotor axonal neuropathy consistent with Friedreich ataxia. Within 12 months, the patient fully recovered and molecular testing of the frataxin gene was unremarkable. Two years later, the patient returned with acute neurologic decompensation and died one month later from progressive demyelination of the brainstem. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing revealed a mutation at 8344A>G in transfer RNA lysine with heteroplasmy at 98% consistent with a diagnosis of a primary mitochondrial disorder.
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