Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Brief Clinical Note

A case of interval form of carbon monoxide poisoning without increased carboxyhemoglobin level diagnosed by characteristic MR spectroscopy findings

Tomoko Kamisawa, M.D.1), Masamichi Ikawa, M.D.1), Tadanori Hamano, M.D.1), Miwako Nagata, M.D.2), Hirohiko Kimura, M.D.3) and Makoto Yoneda, M.D.1)

1)Department of Neurology, University of Fukui Hospital
2)Department of Neurology, Nakamura Hospital
3)Department of Radiology, University of Fukui Hospital

A 67-year-old man living alone was admitted for acute disturbance of consciousness during winter. He presented with semicoma, a decorticate posture, and exaggerated tendon reflexes of the limbs, but brainstem reflexes were intact. The carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level was normal in arterial blood gas on admission, and protein in cerebrospinal fluid was increased without pleocytosis. Brain MRI showed diffuse T2 high intensities in the deep white matter bilaterally without a contrast effect and abnormal T1 intensity in the pallidum. 1H-MR spectroscopy (MRS) of the white matter lesion demonstrated findings suggesting demyelination as an increased choline peak, enhanced anaerobic metabolism as increased lactate and lipids peaks, and reduced neurons as a decreased N-acetylaspartate peak, which corresponded to delayed encephalopathy due to the interval form of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The possibility of CO exposure due to coal briquette use 2 weeks before the symptomatic onset was indicated by his family, so he was diagnosed with CO poisoning. His consciousness slightly improved with corticosteroid therapy and repetitive hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but brain MRI and MRS findings did not improve. Characteristic MRS findings of leukoencephalopathy are helpful for diagnosing the interval form of CO poisoning in the case of a normal COHb level.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (2996K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 54: 234|237, 2014)
key words: interval form of carbon monoxide poisoning, leukoencephalopathy, MR spectroscopy

(Received: 13-May-13)