Diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of Hashimoto's encephalopathy.

Olmez I, Moses H, Sriram S, Kirshner H, Lagrange AH, Pawate S
J Neurol Sci. 2013 331 (1-2): 67-71

PMID: 23759502 · DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2013.05.009

OBJECTIVE - To share our experience on clinical presentation and management of patients diagnosed with Hashimoto's Encephalopathy (HE) at Vanderbilt Medical Center between 1999 and 2012.

BACKGROUND - HE is a rare disorder characterized by encephalopathy and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, elevated antithyroid antibodies, the absence of infection or structural abnormalities in the CNS, and a response to treatment with steroids. The relationship between thyroid antibodies and encephalopathy has remained unresolved.

DESIGN/METHODS - Retrospective chart review.

RESULTS - We identified 13 patients who met the criteria for the diagnosis of HE. The median age was 49 years (range, 2-66) and all except one were women. Encephalopathy in the form of altered mental status, stroke-like symptoms or seizures, with prompt resolution of symptoms upon receiving steroids, was the commonest presentation, seen in 7 patients. The second commonest presentation was subacute progressive decrease in cognitive function, which reversed within days to weeks after steroid therapy, seen in 4 patients. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was available in 12 patients and was abnormal in 8, showing nonspecific cerebral dysfunction in all 8 and epileptiform activity in 3. Treatment consisted of steroids in the acute phase for 12 of 13 patients with rapid improvement in symptoms. Maintenance therapy was rituximab in 7 patients, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) in 7, azathioprine in 4, mycophenolate mofetil in 3, and methotrexate in 1 (some patients received sequential therapy with different agents). There was complete or near complete resolution of symptoms in 12 of the 13 patients.

CONCLUSIONS - We present a cohort of patients in whom CNS dysfunction was associated with elevated antithyroid antibodies and reversal of disease followed immunomodulatory therapies.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

MeSH Terms (19)

Adult Aged Autoantibodies Azathioprine Brain Diseases Child Child, Preschool Electroencephalography Encephalitis Enzyme Inhibitors Female Hashimoto Disease Humans Immunoglobulins, Intravenous Male Methotrexate Middle Aged Retrospective Studies Steroids

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