A 26-year-old Hispanic/African American woman presented to our clinic with a 2-month history of nausea and vomiting, along with dizziness. The nausea and vomiting persistently worsened, and she was only able to tolerate apples and berries. During this 2-month period, she lost 20 pounds and her symptoms progressed to include pruritus, ataxia, and mild hearing loss, with reoccurring episodes of falls.
On examination, she was found to be bradycardic with a heart rate of 47 beats/min, right- axis deviation, and inverted T waves in leads I, II, and augmented vector left. Her family history included the death of an aunt who was in her early 30s due to an unknown heart condition.
Echocardiogram identified mild mitral valve regurgitation with an ejection fraction of 55% to 60% (reference range: 55%-70%). Cardiology determined that her bradycardia was not the source of her symptoms. A neurologic exam identified 3+ hyperreflexia (indicating the reflex was increased), tandem gait instability, and left oculomotor dysfunction.
Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) identified bilateral parietal white matter lesions where a demyelinating process could not be excluded (FIGURE 1A). The patient’s symptoms of nausea and vomiting continued, and she only tolerated peanuts and liquids. An MRI of the spine was negative.
Laboratory testing revealed that the patient was negative for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, Lyme disease, and lupus. Her thyroid-stimulating hormone level was 1.7 mIU/L (reference range: 0.4-4.2 mIU/L), and her vitamin B12 level was 504 pg/mL (reference range: 160-950 pg/mL).
The patient’s lumbar puncture was negative for oligoclonal bands. The IgG synthesis rate/index cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was –3.9, ruling out multiple sclerosis. Her CSF culture was negative, with a glucose level of 42 mg/dL (reference range: 70-110 mg/dL), colorless appearance, 1 white blood cell, and spinal albumin of 12.2 mg/dL (reference range: 8-42 mg/dL). The visual evoked potential was negative. The aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody was positive at 3.4 U/mL, and the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody was positive.
Gastroenterology concluded a normal gastric accommodation and unremarkable computed tomography (CT) enterography. Moderate erosions were identified in the stomach with an erythematous gastropathy. The patient was placed on a proton pump inhibitor.
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