Transient myoclonic state, geriatric, asterixis
Background: Transient myoclonic (TM) state in older adults is a neurological condition characterised by short-lived, repetitive myoclonus without consciousness disturbance. First reported in 1992, it predominantly affects older individuals with chronic diseases. Despite its clear symptomatology, TM often remains under-recognised, leading to potential misdiagnoses.
Case description: We report a case of a 68-year-old woman with a history of chronic heart failure who developed TM during hospitalisation following medication adjustment for acute heart failure. The patient, who had no history of intracranial disease or epilepsy, experienced acute involuntary movements of the face and limbs three days after diuretic adjustment. She responded well to intravenous diazepam and oral clonazepam, with no recurrence of symptoms post-treatment.
Discussion: TM presents with bilateral, irregular, and repetitive myoclonus, mostly affecting the head, neck and upper extremities. Diagnosis is clinical, based on symptomatology and normal laboratory results. This case underscores the importance of recognising TM in differential diagnosis, especially in older patients in the acute or recovery phase of infection, or with medication changes. The potential role of fluid volume changes in TM pathophysiology in patients with underlying conditions such as hypertension or chronic heart failure is also highlighted. This case emphasises the need for heightened awareness and knowledge of TM among healthcare professionals.
Conclusions: TM, though rare, requires awareness among clinicians for accurate diagnosis and management. It is crucial to avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary interventions, and to provide appropriate information during care transitions, particularly in older adults with chronic conditions.
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Issue: 2024: Vol 11 No 2 (view)