Author(s): Kayal AK, Goswami M, Das M, Paul B
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Symptomatic neurosyphilis (NS) can have varied syndromic presentations: Meningitis, meningovascular and parenchymatous involvement. AIMS: To evaluate the different types of clinical syndrome of NS in a tertiary care hospital. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a study of clinical profile of 16 patients with NS, seen in between August 2008 and December 2010. RESULTS: There were 13 male and 3 female patients in the age group of 23-48 years. The clinical syndromes included: Neuropsychiatric syndromes (10), myelopathy (5), and posterior circulation stroke (1). Neuropsychiatric symptoms were dementia, behavioral abnormalities, chronic psychosis, and myelopathy syndromes included acute transverse myelitis (ATM), chronic myelopathy, and syphilitic amyotrophy. Thirteen patients had positive venereal disease research laboratory test (VDRL) and/or high Treponema pallidum hemagglutination titer in blood. Cerebrospinal fluid was positive for VDRL in 14 patients, raised protein was seen in 13 patients and lymphocytic pleocytosis was seen in 10 patients. Human immunodeficiency virus serology was negative in all the patients. Fourteen patients fulfilled the criteria of definitive NS and two of presumptive NS. All the patients except one received injection Procaine penicillin for 14 days. The patient with myelitis received a course of steroid, and one patient with associated hypothyroidism received thyroid supplement in addition to penicillin. On follow-up, dementia of short duration and ischemic stroke improved significantly and clinical status remained the same for ATM; others with mild symptoms improved with residual deficit. CONCLUSION: Syphilis can affect any part of the neuraxis. A high index of clinical suspicion is required to diagnose NS and institute the treatment early, particularly in patients with promiscuous sexual behavior.
This article was published in Neurol India
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis