Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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CASE REPORT
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 127-130

Flail arm-like syndrome associated with HIV-1 infection


1 Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
2 Department of Neurovirology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
3 Department of Neuroradiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
A Nalini
Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Hosur Road, Bangalore - 560 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.53084

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During the last 20 years at least 23 cases of motor neuron disease have been reported in HIV-1 seropositive patients. In this report we describe the clinical picture of a young man with HIV-1 clade C infection and flail arm-like syndrome, who we were able to follow-up for a long period. We investigated and prospectively monitored a 34-year-old man with features of flail arm syndrome, who developed the weakness and wasting 1 year after being diagnosed with HIV-1 infection after a routine blood test. He presented in 2003 with progressive, symmetrical wasting and weakness of the proximal muscles of the upper limb of 2 years' duration. He had severe wasting and weakness of the shoulder and arm muscles. There were no pyramidal signs. He has been on HAART for the last 4 years and the weakness or wasting has not worsened. At the last follow-up in July 2007, the patient had the same neurological deficit and no other symptoms or signs of HIV-1 infection. MRI of the spinal cord in 2007 showed characteristic T2 hyperintense signals in the central part of the spinal cord, corresponding to the central gray matter. Thus, our patient had HIV-1 clade C infection associated with a 'flail arm-like syndrome.' The causal relationship between HIV-1 infection and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-like syndrome is still uncertain. The syndrome usually manifests as a lower motor neuron syndrome, as was seen in our young patient. It is known that treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) stabilizes/improves the condition. In our patient the weakness and atrophy remained stable over a period of 3.5 years after commencing HAART regimen.


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