A young female with urinary retention - Hashimoto's Encephalopathy.

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Abstract

Hashimoto's Encephalopathy (HE) is a rare form of autoimmune encephalopathy associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in which patients experience cognitive impairment and various neurologic symptoms. We present a case of a young female that presented to the emergency department with urinary retention, and was ultimately diagnosed with HE. Examination was significant for direction-changing and vertical nystagmus (direction-changing nystagmus describes a phenomenon where the fast beat changes with the direction of gaze), hyperreflexia, clonus, and Babinski and Hoffman's reflexes (all upper motor neuron (UMN) signs). Her symptoms improved with high dose intravenous steroid administration. To our knowledge, urinary retention in the presence of other UMN signs has not been reported in association with HE; nor has this patient's type of nystagmus. Emergency physicians should be aware of this condition and can play an important role by considering it when neurologic findings are not explained by infectious, toxic, metabolic, or structural etiologies. Although relatively rare, if detected and treated early HE can have a good prognosis.

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