Transverse myelitis and acute HIV infection: a case report
Department of Infectious Diseases, Hospital de São João and University of Porto Medical School, Porto, Portugal
BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:149 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-149Published: 19 March 2014
Most HIV infected patients will develop some sort of neurologic involvement of the disease throughout their lives, usually in advanced stages. Neurologic symptoms may occur in acute HIV infection but myelopathy in this setting is rare. Up until this date, only two cases of transverse myelitis as a manifestation of acute HIV infection have been reported in the literature. Therapeutic approach in these patients is not well defined.
A 35 year-old male Caucasian recently returned from the tropics presented to our hospital with urinary retention and acute paraparesis. After extensive diagnostic workup he was diagnosed with acute HIV infection presenting as transverse myelitis. Full neurologic recovery was observed without the use of anti-retroviral therapy.
Acute spinal cord disorders are challenging, as they present a wide array of differential diagnosis and may lead to devastating sequelae. Timely and rigorous diagnostic workup is of the utmost importance when managing these cases. Clinicians should be aware of the protean manifestations of acute HIV infection, including central nervous system involvement, and have a low threshold for HIV screening.