Headache, Delirium or Encephalitis? A Case of Residual Mutism Secondary to Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

Omar Jiménez-Zarazúa, María Andrea Martínez-Rivera, Pedro Luis González-Carrillo, Lourdes N Vélez-Ramírez, María Alcocer-León, Sandra X L Tafoya-Rojas, Angélica M Becerra-Baez, Mariana A Bravo-Martínez, Jaime D Mondragón*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    99 Downloads (Pure)


    Encephalitis is a heterogeneous syndrome that is diagnosed through clinical assessment and the assistance of laboratory, neuroimaging and electroencephalographic workup. Over the past 10 years, autoimmune encephalitis has been more frequently recognized; however, most reports come from highly specialized hospital settings. Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NDMAR) encephalitis has been associated with paraneoplastic encephalitis syndromes and was first recognized in 2005. We present the case of a 34-year-old male patient who debuted clinically with a headache associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms (i.e., visual and auditory hallucinations, anxiety, aggressiveness) and memory deficits, progressing to autonomic dysfunction (i.e., tachycardia and hypertension), seizures, and stupor with catatonic features. Initially, infectious, metabolic, and toxicological etiologies were excluded; followed by the assessment of immunological and paraneoplastic etiologies, yielding positive IgG levels for anti-NMDAR antibodies. The patient was treated successfully with systemic steroid therapy and therapeutic plasmapheresis, while mutism was the only sequela. Although large case series reporting on paraneoplastic and autoimmune anti-NMDAR encephalitis have been reported in the literature in recent years, this case is of particular importance due to the stepwise differential diagnosis and treatment management procedure that was used in a regional but not highly specialized hospital setting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)330-343
    Number of pages14
    JournalCase Reports in Neurology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 9-Jan-2020

    Cite this