When is a stroke not a stroke? An unusual mimic presenting to AMU

Patel, S.; Smallwood, N.; Abu, H.-J.; Abousleiman, Y.

Acute Medicine 15(5): 33-36

2016


ISSN/ISBN: 1747-4892
PMID: 27116586
Document Number: 17022
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare prion disease classically manifesting with rapidly progressive dementia, abnormal movements and typical electroencephalographic (EEG) changes. A 74 year-old Caucasian man was recently discharged from another centre diagnosed with a stroke. He re-presented to our acute medical unit with worsening symptoms, and stroke remained the working diagnosis. Collateral history revealed a progressive cognitive decline and unilateral myoclonus. Further investigations supported the diagnosis of probable CJD, confirmed by the national CJD surveillance centre. Signs and symptoms atypical of stroke should raise the possibility of alternative diagnoses, including prion disease. CJD can present with unilateral symptoms, EEG and MRI changes. Early diagnosis prevents unnecessary investigations and treatments, allowing early palliative care input, where appropriate.

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When is a stroke not a stroke? An unusual mimic presenting to AMU