Cureus. 2022 Feb 10;14(2):e22102. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22102. eCollection 2022 Feb.
Unexplained encephalopathy is a common occurrence in tertiary care centers and neurologic disorders should be considered after ruling out the infectious, toxic and metabolic etiologies. Neuroimaging combined with a thorough history and examination is often helpful in ruling out stroke and fulminant demyelinating encephalopathies. Autoimmune encephalopathy should be suspected in any patient with unexplained acute or subacute onset encephalopathy or rapidly progressing dementia. Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA-R) encephalitis is the most studied form and Hashimoto encephalitis is the most controversial form of autoimmune encephalopathies. Obtaining a combined serum and Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) autoantibody testing will increase the diagnostic yield of autoimmune and paraneoplastic encephalitis. When diagnosing NMDA receptor antibodies CSF is always more sensitive than serum and in contrast, voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC) complex antibodies are more readily detectable in serum than in CSF. Neural-specific antibody tests frequently result after several weeks and treatment should be administered without a significant delay to prevent brain damage. Autoimmune encephalitis is often treatment responsive when immunotherapy (glucocorticoids, intravenous immune globulin, plasma exchange) is used in various combinations. The absence of inflammatory markers and autoantibodies in the serum or CSF may not rule out the possibility of paraneoplastic encephalopathies.
PMID:35291547 | PMC:PMC8917954 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.22102