An adult case of recurrent myelopathy presenting with monoplegia following asthmatic attacks

T. Kurokawa, T. Taniwaki, K. Arakawa, T. Yamada, J. Kira

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A 22-year-old woman noticed an acute onset muscle weakness in her right leg after an asthmatic attack. A neurological examination showed moderate muscle weakness from the right iliopsoas muscle to the toe muscles, a decreased deep tendon reflex in her right lower limb and mild hypesthesia in her right L2-S1 segments. Needle EMG revealed fibrillation potentials in the right gastrocnemius muscle and a positive sharp wave in the right anterior tibialis muscle. The findings of motor nerve conduction studies and sensory nerve conduction studies were normal. The lesion was considered to be located at the posterior horns, as well as at the anterior horns at the L2-S1 levels and also at their roots on the right side. The anterior horn cells appeared to be the most severely affected. Polio-, echo-, entero- and coxsackie-virus antibody titers showed no significant changes on the 36th and 64th days of the disease. The serum IgE level was elevated and mite antigen-specific IgE was strongly positive. MRI revealed no abnormalities in either the thoracic or lumbar spinal cord. Although the sensory disturbance did rapidly improve after corticosteroid therapy, no improvement was seen in her muscle weakness which thus resulted in the atrophy of the affected muscle. While undergoing the corticosteroid therapy, she suffered another asthmatic attack. Nine days after the second attack, she further developed weakness in her right deltoid, biceps brachii, triceps brachii, wrist extensor, wrist flexor, digits extensor and digits flexor muscles with hyperreflexia in her left upper limb. Cervical MRI disclosed a high intensity area at the C3-6 level on the T2-weighted images and also a gadolinium enhancement of the lesion. Since monoplegia had appeared twice previously after bronchial asthma attacks in this case, Hopkins syndrome was suggested. Hopkins syndrome has so far been exclusively reported in children, and no recurrent cases have ever been reported with this condition. This is therefore considered to be the first case of Hopkins syndrome occurring in an adult and also demonstrating recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalFukuoka igaku zasshi = Hukuoka acta medica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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