Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection without respiratory compromise
Introduction. COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), continues to grow all over the world since december of 2019. Although the main clinical manifestation is pulmonary disease, neurological manifestations are a prominent and increasingly recognized feature of the disease. The Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare autoimmune disorder, most commonly triggered by a viral infection. There are a few case reports of ADEM associated with COVID-19, almost all of them associated pulmonary disease. We report the case of a young patient with diagnosis of ADEM with SARS-CoV-2 infection without clinical respiratory symptoms.
Case report. A 20-year-old woman with no relevant medical history was brought to the emergency department with a progressive confusional state lasted for 7 days. Family reported the development of smell and taste deficit since two weeks before the onset of neurological symptoms. There were no complaints of pulmonary symptoms. At admission, she was drowsy and disoriented. Left homonymous hemianopsia and an ipsilateral Babinski sign was identified. A brain magnetic resonance image was done showing multiple hyperintense bilateral, asymmetric patchy and poorly marginated lesions with gadolinium enhancement. She was SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive on nasopharyngeal swab. Intravenous high-dose glucocorticoids were administered with marked clinical improvement.
Conclusion. ADEM is an extremely uncommon complication of SARS-CoV-2infection. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis should be considered a potentially treatable cause of encephalopathy or multifocal neurological deficits in COVID-19 patients, even in the absence of respiratory symptoms.
Key words. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Autoimmune encephalitis. COVID-19. Post-infectious encephalitis. SARS-CoV-2. White matter disease.