J Korean Med Sci.  2005 Dec;20(6):1085-1088. 10.3346/jkms.2005.20.6.1085.

A Catastrophic-Onset Longitudinal Myelitis Accompanied by Bilateral Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia in a Patient with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, and Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, Jeonju, Korea. goldgu@chonbuk.ac.kr


Transverse myelitis (TM) extending from midbrain to the entire spinal cord accompanied by internuclear ophthalmoplegia is extremely rare but cause serious central nervous system complications in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. We report a case of a 28-yr-old woman with TM extending from the midbrain to the conus medullaris longitudinally and internuclear ophthalmoplegia associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. Her neurological symptoms had an abrupt catastrophic onset and rapidly progressed to respiratory failure within 24 hr. Bilateral internuclear ophthalmoplegia was also followed by TM. Brain MR images showed definite brainstem lesions, which were deeply associated with internuclear ophthalmoplegia, and diffuse signal changes in the whole spinal cord, medulla, pons and midbrain. Clinical improvement of her ophthalmoplegia and of neurological dysfunction of the upper extremities was noted after prompt and aggressive treatment with intravenous pulsed methylprednisolone and cyclophosphamide. However, the neurological dysfunction of the lower limbs and bladder and colon paralysis were almost unchanged until six months passed.


Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic; Myelitis, Transverse; Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia; Ocular Motility Disorders

MeSH Terms

Cyclophosphamide/therapeutic use
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic/*complications
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Myelitis, Transverse/diagnosis/drug therapy/*etiology
Ocular Motility Disorders/diagnosis/drug therapy/*etiology
Prednisolone/therapeutic use
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