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Tenn Med. 2010 May;103(5):43-7.

The occurrence of stiff person syndrome in a patient with thymoma: case report and literature review.

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Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City Medical Center, TN, USA.


Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare disorder that affects the central nervous system, being characterized by intermittent episodes of muscle spasms, rigidity, and a significant increase in morbidity and mortality. We report a 29-year-old patient, with left-sided chylothorax and thymoma, who presented with truncal, lower extremities stiffness and painful cramps alleviated by diazepam and opiates. His clinical picture was suggestive of SPS secondary to invasive thymoma. This syndrome is best approached by its early recognition and prompt treatment since a missed diagnosis can have deleterious outcome. An intensive search for the underlying etiology is of utmost importance in the management of SPS. A review of the current literature is also included in this manuscript.

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