Internal Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-7235
Print ISSN : 0918-2918
ISSN-L : 0918-2918
Pseudo-Piano Playing Motions and Nocturnal Hypoventilation in Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis: Response to Prompt Tumor Removal and Immunotherapy
Akiko UchinoTakahiro IizukaYoshiaki UranoMasahide AraiAtsuko HaraJunichi HamadaRyuichi HiroseJosep DalmauHideki Mochizuki
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2011 Volume 50 Issue 6 Pages 627-630


Tumor resection is recommended in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis, however it is often difficult during an early stage of the disease. We report here the efficacy of early tumor removal in a patient with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. This 21-year-old woman was admitted to another hospital with rapidly progressive psychiatric symptoms, a decreased level of consciousness, and seizures. Abdominal CT showed a pelvic mass. On day 1 of admission to our center, she developed hypoventilation requiring mechanical support. She had orofacial dyskinesias with well-coordinated, pseudo-piano playing involuntary finger movements. Based on these clinical features, she was immediately scheduled for tumor resection on day 3. While awaiting surgery, she began to receive high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone. After tumor removal, she received plasma exchange, followed by intravenous immunoglobulin and additional high-dose methylprednisolone. Two weeks after tumor removal, she started following simple commands and progressive improvement, although she remained on mechanical ventilation for 10 weeks due to nocturnal central hypoventilation. Anti-NMDAR antibodies in serum/CSF were detected. Pathological examination showed immature teratoma with foci of infiltrates of B- and T-cells. Early tumor resection with immunotherapy facilitates recovery from this disease, but central hypoventilation may require long mechanical support. Non-jerky elaborate finger movements suggest antibody-mediated disinhibition of the cortico-striatal systems.

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© 2011 by The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine
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