Post hypoxic myoclonus: A tale of two minds

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Post hypoxic myoclonus (PHM) is considered a poor prognostic sign and may influence decisions regarding withdrawal of treatment. PHM is generally categorized in literature as either acute or chronic (also commonly referred to as Lance-Adams Syndrome) based on the onset of myoclonus. However, it may be more accurate to differentiate between the various presentations of PHM based on the clinical characteristics and electroencephalogram (EEG) findings for prognostication. Here, we describe a case of a 33-year-old female who presented after a cardiopulmonary arrest. MRI of the brain and cervical spine on admission were unremarkable. Twelve hours later, she developed generalized, stimulus-sensitive myoclonus suggestive of acute PHM. Various medications were trialed, and her symptoms eventually improved on clonazepam. On day 14, she started having resting and intention myoclonus, and dysarthria, consistent with LAS. Several adjustments were again made to her regimen, and she was eventually switched from clonazepam to baclofen which improved her resting myoclonus. This case highlights that PHM can present differently and have a markedly different outcome. It is important to develop a better understanding of the various types of PHM so as to avoid premature withdrawal of care.

Keywords: Lance-Adams syndrome; Myoclonus; Post hypoxic.