Hyponatremia and Central Pontine Myelinolysis

What is hyponatremia? Information regarding CPM and EPM.

Archive for the tag “Locked-in syndrome”

CPM/EPM- Locked-In Syndrome:

I am sorry that I have not reported on this critical symptom of CPM/EPM previously. I thought I had covered it previously, but I’m not finding any previous posts about it. Please forgive me if I have posted about it, but this should be a much more informative post.

Locked in syndrome is an issue that occurs with brain injury, so it is not just a symptom related to CPM/EPM alone. It can happen with stroke and also with head trauma. It is characterized by the inability to move ANYTHING, except for the eyes. Generally, a person is able to open and close their eyelids and look vertically up. However, they are unable to speak. Sometimes, they are unable to make any sounds at all. Even though they have significant paralysis, their cognitive functions seem to be close to normal or near normal.

It is difficult to determine how many people are actually impacted by locked in syndrome because most of those impacted die before it can be definitively diagnosed. It is also suspected that a number of patients might not be diagnosed because they make an astounding recovery.

Now, again, locked in syndrome is not solely caused by CPM, but it is generally related to an injury to the pontine area of the brain. It is believed that strokes are the primary cause of locked in syndrome. It can also be caused by infection and other demyelination causes.

I found this to be extremely interesting. Firstly, a person may not be able to move even their eyes, so it is believed that a number of persons who are impacted by locked in syndrome might be misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state, ie that they have little or no cognitive function. It is also sometimes confused with coma.

Due to the complex nature of locked in syndrome, it makes it difficult to determine the true number of people that are impacted. That’s pretty scary, especially when you take into consideration cases like Terry Schiavo.

It was never clearly determined if Terry Schiavo was in a vegetative, completely brain damaged state or if she had some cognitive function and had significant paralysis. It has been determined that she had an electrolyte imbalance, possibly related to an eating disorder, but there is also concern that her injuries were caused by an attack from her husband. It truly is a mystery, but that’s the scary part with people being in an locked in state. It is extremely difficult to determine the extent to their injuries.

For more on Terry Schiavo, I found this website to be very informative: http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/29516/

Now there are different levels of paralysis with locked in syndrome. A person can be completely paralyzed in which there is no ability for movement, even their eyes are paralyzed. There is classic which a person retains the ability to move their eyes (vertically or blink), and then there is incomplete locked in syndrome. In this version, a person has very limited movement.

A person who has more movement has a better chance of recovery.

I found the following website extremely detailed in describing locked in syndrome and what to expect: http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/303/

I found this paragraph interesting:

Alertness often fluctuates, especially during the acute phase (Gutling et al., 1996). Several authors reported that cognitive functions were generally preserved although cognitive impairment may be present (Smith et al., 2008; Smith and Delargy, 2005; Ruff et al., 1987). Attention and memory disorders are observed in nearly half the cases, especially in individuals with a post-traumatic LIS (León-Carrión et al., 2002; Ruff et al., 1987; Garrard et al., 2002). Emotional lability is a common symptom (Garrard et al., 2002). Apathy is sometimes observed and may persist in some cases (Beaudoin and De Serres, 2008). Recovery of cognitive functions is often observed in individuals during the first year (Brunoet al., 2008).

I think the above is true for most brain injuries. There seems to be cognitive issues with memory, attention and learning. There is also that psychological factor that is involved in brain injury as well. These are issues that I have experienced but have had difficulty locating in the literature describing CPM/EPM…not the cognitive issues but the psychological aspects, so I found this to be “proof” that this behavior isn’t unlikely with CPM/EPM.

I found this video EXTREMELY relevant. I really think that this is what happened to Terry Schiavo. I have been told by a friend recently that a similar situation is happening NOW to their family member.

This is a similar story to Terry’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWHnkFaxMxM

The following video is also heartbreaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gqSYIDsKjs

The following is a story of a women who has locked in syndrome, and how she finds that her life is still important and worth living. It’s very inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3uEMyVnThI&feature=related

I found this story also inspiring:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR2GQikB7I4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IO6i0syM8Q

I really think it’s important for people to realize that if you or someone you love develops this condition, it does not mean that you life is over, and it is important to WAIT before pulling feeding tubes or other life supportive measures.

I pray that any of you reading this are just looking for information, and are not experiencing this personally. It is an extremely difficult condition to live with and to watch your loved ones experience, especially in the beginning, but as technology becomes more advanced, I believe there will be more hope and further recovery for even the most devastating cases of locked in syndrome.

In closing, I believe the most important thing for a significant recovery is early recognition and an immediate start to rehabilitation. It is also important to get all senses involved through the use of bitter liquids, sounds, movements, etc.

Please feel free to comment regarding your personal experiences with locked in syndrome or questions.

 

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CPM: Treatments

I hope you are doing well. It has been several days since I posted last. I could list several crazy reasons: I was in the hospital having a sleep study. They didn’t have WiFi at the hospital, so I couldn’t use my laptop. Tom was sick. However, honestly, the biggest reason is I didn’t know how to continue with this topic.

It might seem obvious that it is easy for me to get distracted and get off topic. (I hope not). I think my last post on CPM/EPM might have demonstrated this a little more than normal.

I covered a lot of material in my last post. Several of the topics I mentioned, I feel, could be made in to separate posts. I might try to do this at a later time, which means that I might have some topics come up more than once. Please be patient.

Okay, so CPM/EPM treatments:

There really aren’t any treatments, as far as a cure. You will find this information on any resource regarding CPM. For your convince, I’ve included this quote from, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001779/.

There is no known cure for central pontine myelinolysis. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms.

The following quote is from a study that suggests the following has been used in the treatment of it:

Case reports have suggested that steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone may be helpful; however, there are no findings from a large-scale trial to support the use of these therapies.

(http://radiographics.rsna.org/content/29/3/933.full)

You may be given prescriptions for movement disorders (tremors, shakes, twitches). These are usually the same type of drugs that treat parkinsons. You may be given pain meds. You might need to see a pain management specialist. You may need anti anxiety/anti depressants. You may need medicines for insomnia or for central nervous system sleep apnea.

You may need on going physical and occupational therapy. You will probably need speech therapy.

You will probably be given anti-depressants or anti- anxiety medicines because let’s face it, the pill you are forced to swallow is unbelievably bitter.

I know that sounds a bit scary. It is. It is terrifying because the doctors have no way to know what is going to happen to you, so they won’t be able to provide you with much information.

If they’re honest with you, they will tell you that you could slip into a coma at any point in time, die, or slip into something called locked in syndrome.

In a series of 44 patients, myelinolysis
occurred after a mean of 6.3 days (range 3–11)
and resulted in a “locked-in” syndrome in 23
patients.

The above information was provided by: http://www.ccjm.org/content/74/5/377.full.pdf

Personally, I think the locked in syndrome is the most terrifying because you will lose all ability to move. It’s a FULL body paralysis. The only thing that you will be able to move is your eyes, but you’re aware of what is happening.

Some studies state that you are at risk to develop these severe health issues (coma, death or locked in syndrome) up to 12 weeks after developing CPM/EPM. Other studies, suggest that it is up to 8 weeks. Frustratingly, there is not enough information regarding CPM/EPM to know for sure.

In most cases, the hospital will keep you under observation for at least 7 days depending on how severe your symptoms are. In other cases, you may be hospitalized for up to 21 days for observation. If you go into a coma or locked in syndrome, you may be hospitalized for 4 to 12 weeks, if not longer.

Here’s the thing, if you are being released in this 7 to 21 day period, I highly recommend that you remain in contact with your doctors that were monitoring your for the CPM/EPM. If you experience ANY changes after being discharged, GO TO THE ER. Err on the side of caution with CPM/EPM. Being wrong is better than being dead.

If you’ve developed CPM/EPM, you’re already unlucky. You’ve already fallen into the less than 1% to 5% range by developing it, and NO ONE really knows what will happen, so err on the side of caution if you experience ANYTHING that gives you concern.

I want to stress that it’s important to return to the hospital that was treating you because most hospitals have never treated a patient with CPM/EPM. Most doctors have only read about it in textbooks. If your hospital treated you, then they might have experience with it.

Your life has just been changed tremendously. If you’re reading this, then you are EXTREMELY luck and terribly unfortunate at the same time. You are terribly unfortunate in developing CPM, but EXTREMELY lucky that you are even alive.

It’s going to take time to adjust to your new abilities, and your journey is just beginning.

Now, here’s the thing. No ONE knows what is going to really happen with you.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may improve significantly. Some research suggests that you may recover COMPLETELY.  However, I question this on the basis that research is vague.

In long-term
follow-up of 32 survivors of the acute phase of
central pontine myelinolysis, 11 had no functional deficit, 11 had minor neurologic
deficits, and 10 had severe deficits requiring
dependent (ie, long-term) care.

The above quote comes from the article used previously. Use the ccjm.org link above to access it.

The widely used study above suggests, that 1/3 of patients will recover, a 1/3 of patients will have symptoms but live independently, and a 1/3 will need to have assisted living.

This study was vague. It didn’t say how long the patients had CPM. Was it 3 months, 6 months, 10 years after developing it?

I would like to suggest that unless you die, you are going to improve. I would like to suggest that everyone who has CPM (except for those who die) will improve to some degree to an almost normal, pre-injury state. However, it is not known if this type of improvement is absolute or to what degree you will improve.

The study quoted above, also explained that depending upon the location of the lesions, a person might experience a decline in neurological abilities. I know several persons who have it, and after a period 2 to 3 years, they begin to experience a deterioration in their neurological symptoms.

Some studies have stated that the majority of persons who have CPM, die within 5 to 10 years after developing. More than half commit suicide.

Please be aware, if you are a care giver for someone who has CPM, that more than half commit suicide.

Because of this alarming statistic, I highly recommend getting your loved one supportive psychological therapy. I also recommend that they participate in online support groups.

Brain injury support groups offer a great help.

I looked for months, and found only a handful of people who have CPM through inspire.com.  We’re kind of outcasts since there are so few of us, so we don’t really fit into any other neurological support groups.

I hope to change that at some point in time, but right now, please contact me with questions. Please post your story for others to read. Together, I hope we can prevent people from going through this horrible experience.

 

UPDATE:

It is always depressing to learn that there are TREATMENTS for CPM/EPM, and to know that I could have been fixed if I received one of these treatments! I hope and pray that if you have CPM/EPM or know of someone who has been diagnosed that you will get this information during a period when it can provide relief. The following quote comes from an abstract, so if you provide this information to the doctor, they should be able to get the treatment information:

Clin Neuropharmacol. ;23 (2):110-3  10803802  Cit:11

go to Pubmedgo to Scholargo to Googleshow EndNote Citationshow BibTex Citation

Update citations of this paper

        Neurological Department, Neurological Hospital Rosenhügel, Vienna, Austria.
Although the exact pathogenesis of central pontine myelinolysis (CPM) is unknown, correction of hyponatremia, thyreotropin releasing hormone, plasmapheresis, and corticosteroids seem to be effective. Assuming intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) to also be effective in CPM, 0.4 g/kg body weight/d immunoglobulins were applied to a 48-year-old patient who developed CPM with double vision, dysarthria, dysphagia, and left-sided hemiparesis 3 weeks after spontaneous normalization of hyponatremia. After 5 days of IVIG, his symptoms markedly improved, confirmed by improvement in the Norris score (42%), Frenchay score (19%), Kurtzke score (20%), Disability score (54%), vital capacity (26%), and peak torque (69%). The promising clinical effect of IVIG was assumed to be caused by the reduction of myelinotoxic substances, the development of antimyelin antibodies, and the promotion of remyelination. In conclusion, IVIG appear to be a promising therapeutic option in CPM.

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