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Rinsho Shinkeigaku. 2000 May;40(5):433-8.

[A patient of Charcot-Marie-tooth disease with rigid spine and respiratory failure].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Nara Medical University.


This report describes a case of a 17-year-old girl with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) representing rigid spine and respiratory failure. At age 11, she tended to walk on her toes and had difficulty in getting up from the floor without support. She became aware of flexion limitation of the neck at the age of 12. At 15 years of age, She began to have dyspnea on effort. When she was 17 years old, neurological examination revealed mild weakness of the upper extremities and severe weakness of the distal lower extremities, generalized wasting and areflexia. Superficial sensation was mildly impaired distally, and vibration sensation was severely impaired in the lower extremities. Motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities were mildly reduced, and compound muscle action potential of the tibial and peroneal nerves and sensory nerve action potential on ulnar and sural nerves were absent. Electromyography showed neurogenic changes with denervation potentials. Sural nerve biopsy revealed severe loss of myelinated fibers without any onion-bulb formation. As for family history, her elder sister showed moderate loss of vibration sensation in the lower extremities. On the basis of these findings, she was diagnosed as having CMT type 2, though a mode of inheritance was uncertain. She also had peculiar findings of flexion limitation of the spine (rigid spine), contracture of the hip joint, and fatty degeneration of paraspinal muscles on CT. Percent vital capacity (VC) was 22.5%, and arterial blood gas analysis showed PaO2 of 60.5 mmHg and PaCO2 65.0 mmHg. To our knowledge, this is the first case of CMT accompanied by rigid spine and respiratory failure. Motor and sensory neuropathy combined with rigid spine also have not been reported previously. The relationship between rigid spine syndrome with neurogenic muscular atrophy and CMT type 2C with the clinical characteristics of diaphragm and vocal cord paresis is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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