Laboratory findings in neurosyphilis patients with epileptic seizures alone as the initial presenting symptom.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;75(4):377-80
Authors: Tong ML, Liu LL, Zeng YL, Zhang HL, Liu GL, Zheng WH, Dong J, Wu JY, Su YH, Lin LR, Yang TC
A retrospective chart review was performed to characterize the clinical presentation, the characteristic combination of serologic and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) abnormalities, and the neuroimaging findings of neurosyphilis (NS) patients who had epileptic seizures alone as an initial presenting symptom. In a 6.75-year period, 169 inpatients with NS were identified at Zhongshan Hospital (from June 2005 to February 2012). We demonstrated that 13 (7.7%) of the 169 NS patients had epileptic seizures alone as an initial presenting feature. Epileptic seizures occurred in NS patients with syphilitic meningitis (2 cases), meningovascular NS (5 cases), and general paresis (6 cases). The types of epileptic seizures included simple partial, complex partial with secondary generalization (including status epilepticus), and generalized seizures (no focal onset reported). Nine of NS patients with only epileptic seizures as primary symptom were misdiagnosed, and the original misdiagnosis was 69.23% (9/13). Ten (10/13, 76.9%) patients had an abnormal magnetic resonance imaging, and 7 (7/13 53.8%) patients had abnormal electroencephalogram recordings. In addition, the sera rapid plasma reagin (RPR) and Treponema pallidum particle agglutination (TPPA) from all 13 patients were positive. The overall positive rates of the CSF-RPR and CSF-TPPA were 61.5% and 69.2%, respectively. Three patients demonstrated CSF pleocytosis, and 9 patients exhibited elevated CSF protein levels. Therefore, NS with only epileptic seizures at the initial presentation exhibits a lack of specificity. It is recommended that every patient with clinically evident symptoms of epileptic seizures should have a blood test performed for syphilis. When the serology results are positive, all of the patients should undergo a CSF examination to diagnose NS.
PMID: 23428457 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]