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Korean J Schizophr Res > Volume 20(1); 2017 > Article
Korean Journal of Schizophrenia Research 2017;20(1):23-27.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.16946/kjsr.2017.20.1.23    Published online April 30, 2017.
A Case of Catatonia Later Diagnosed with NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.
Saejeong Lee, Myong Wuk Chon, Jungsun Lee, Chang Yoon Kim
1Department of Psychiatry, Daejeon Hankook Hospital, Daejeon, Korea.
2Department of Psychiatry, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. cykim@amc.seoul.kr
We report a case of a young female patient with catatonic features who later turned out to be suffering from an anti-NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate)-receptor-antibody encephalitis. A previously healthy 21-year-old woman was admitted to psychiatric inpatient care presenting with acute psychotic behavior with catatonic features. Laboratory tests of serum and CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid), EEG (Electroencephalogram), brain MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) were unremarkable except vague slow wave on EEG. However, subtle cognitive impairment at the bedside examination suggested further imaging studies to rule out possible organic etiology like autoimmune encephalitis. Brain PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) suggested probable inflammation in the brain. In case of autoimmune encephalitis, given the severity of symptoms and worsening course, steroid pulse therapy was initiated promptly even though the diagnosis was not confirmed but presumed at that time. She recovered completely with steroid therapy. Later her disease turned out to be anti-NMDA-receptor-antibody encephalitis by the antibody test which was not available at the time of admission. Psychiatrists need to be aware of autoimmune encephalitis like anti-NMDA-receptor-antibody encephalitis in the differential diagnosis of acute psychosis with catatonic features. Subtle cognitive impairment which tends to be overlooked due to catatonic features might be a clue to suspect the organic etiology.
Key Words: Catatonia · Cognitive impairment · Anti-NMDA-receptor-antibody encephalitis
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