Optic neuritis and recurrent myelitis in a woman with systemic lupus erythematosus

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SUMMARYBackgroundA 38-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus presented with headaches and bilateral hearing loss. Brain MRI was initially suggestive of small-vessel disease developing in the context of neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus. Several months later, the patient developed optic neuritis, followed by recurrent attacks of myelitis.InvestigationsMRI of the spine revealed multifocal regions of myelitis affecting the cervical spine. Serological evaluation revealed the presence of neuromyelitis optica-IgG antibodies. MRI of the brain was nondiagnostic for multiple sclerosis.DiagnosisRecurrent myelitis and optic neuritis, occurring in the context of neuromyelitis optica (also known as Devic's syndrome).ManagementThe patient had recurrent attacks of myelitis despite treatment with pulse cyclophosphamide. After initiation of rituximab, the patient experienced symptomatic improvement and had no further attacks of opticospinal disease.

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