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Maha Khalil Abass Pediatric Endocrinology Division, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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Aisha Al Shamsi Clinical Genetics Department, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

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Iftikhar Jan Paediatric Surgery Division, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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Mohammed Suhail Yasin Masalawala Clinical Trial Unit, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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Asma Deeb Pediatric Endocrinology Division, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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Summary

The most frequent causes of pancreatitis classically have been known to be gallstones or alcohol. However, genetics can also play a key role in predisposing patients to both chronic and acute pancreatitis. The serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK 1) gene is known to be strongly associated with pancreatitis. Patients with these underlying genetic mutations can have severe diseases with a high morbidity rate and frequent hospitalization. We report an Arab girl who presented with acute pancreatitis at the age of 7 years progressing to recurrent chronic pancreatitis over a few years. She had severe obesity from the age of 4 years and developed type 2 diabetes at the age of 12. She had a normal biliary system anatomy. Genetic analysis showed that she had combined heterozygous mutations in the SPINK1 gene (SPINK1, c.101A>G p.(Asn34Ser) and SPINK1, c.56-37T>C). Her parents were first-degree cousins, but neither had obesity. Mother was detected to have the same mutations. She had type 2 diabetes but never presented with pancreatitis. This case is the first to be reported from the Arab region with these combined mutations leading to recurrent chronic pancreatitis. It illustrates the importance of diagnosing the underlying genetic mutation in the absence of other known causes of pancreatitis. Considering the absence of pancreatitis history in the mother who did not have obesity but harboured the same mutations, we point out that severe obesity might be a triggering factor of pancreatitis in the presence of the mutations in SPINK1 gene in this child. While this is not an assumption from a single patient, we show that not all carriers of this mutation develop the disease even within the same family. Triggering factors like severe obesity might have a role in developing the disease.

Learning points

  • Acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis are uncommon in children but might be underdiagnosed.

  • Biliary tract anomalies and dyslipidaemias are known causative factors for pancreatitis, but pancreatitis can be seen in children with intact biliary system.

  • Genetic diagnosis should be sought in children with pancreatitis in the absence of known underlying predisposing factors.

  • SPINK1 mutations can predispose to an early-onset severe recurrent pancreatitis and acute pancreatitis.

Open access
Matthew J Verheyden Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Natassia Rodrigo Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nepean Hospital, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

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Anthony J Gill Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
NSW Health Pathology, Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia

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Sarah J Glastras Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a rare and chronic disease characterised by yellow-brown, atrophic, telangiectatic plaques usually located on the lower extremities, with pathological features of collagen necrobiosis and dermal inflammation. Most cases are seen in those with diabetes mellitus, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1DM), and many without diabetes have evidence of abnormal glucose tolerance or family history of autoimmune disease. In this study, we describe four patients with NL and T1DM. A common theme is late identification and delay in diagnosis. Hence, we discuss the clinical features, need for clinicopathological correlation, and the management and prognostic implications for this distinctive entity. While most remain relatively asymptomatic, others progress to debilitating disease with pruritus, dysesthesia, and pain. Pain is often intense in the presence of ulcerated plaques, a morbid complication of NL. Diagnosis requires the integration of both clinical and histopathological findings. NL has proven a challenging condition to treat, and despite the numerous therapeutic modalities available, there is no standard of care. Hence, in this study, we provide an overview of current management strategies available for NL.

Learning points

  • Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is classically seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.

  • Koebner phenomenon, defined as the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma, is a well-recognised feature in NL.

  • Background skin phototype contributes to variable yellow appearance of lesions in NL.

  • Diagnosis of NL requires careful clinicopathological correlation.

  • NL is a chronic disease often refractory to treatment leading to significant morbidity for the patient and a management conundrum for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.

  • No standard therapeutic regimen has been established for the management of NL.

Open access
Inês Vieira Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

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Sofia Lopes Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

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Margarida Bastos Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

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Luísa Ruas Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

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Dírcea Rodrigues Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

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Isabel Paiva Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

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Summary

The coexistence of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NFT1) and Turner syndrome (TS) has only been reported in a few patients and may represent a diagnostic challenge. We describe the case of a 16-year-old girl, with a prior clinical diagnosis of NFT1, who was referred to Endocrinology appointments for the etiological study of primary amenorrhea. Evaluation of the anterior pituitary function was requested and hypergonadotropic hypogonadism was detected. During the etiological study, a 45X karyotype was found and TS was diagnosed. The fact that NFT1 can also be associated with short stature, short broad neck and hypertelorism was likely responsible for TS being diagnosed in late adolescence. As both TS and NFT1 are relatively common genetic disorders, it is important to be alert to the possibility that the presence of one disease does not invalidate the other.

Learning points

  • The concomitant presence of two syndromes in the same patient is unlikely and represents a diagnostic challenge.

  • Some phenotypic characteristics and clinical manifestations may be shared by several syndromes.

  • Some syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 may have very heterogeneous presentations.

  • It is important to be alert to the characteristics that are not explained by the initial diagnosis.

  • If such features are present, diagnostic work-up must be performed regardless of the initial syndromic diagnosis.

Open access
Nam Quang Tran Department of Endocrinology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Department of Endocrinology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Chien Cong Phan Department of Imaging, University Medical Center at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Thao Thi Phuong Doan Department of Histopathology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Thang Viet Tran Department of Endocrinology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Department of Endocrinology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Summary

Primary adrenal insufficiency is a rare disease and can masquerade as other conditions; therefore, it is sometimes incorrectly diagnosed. Herein, we reported the case of a 39-year-old Vietnamese male with primary adrenal insufficiency due to bilateral adrenal tuberculosis. The patient presented to the emergency room with acute adrenal crisis and a 3-day history of nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhoea with a background of 6 months of fatigue, weight loss, and anorexia. Abdominal CT revealed bilateral adrenal masses. Biochemically, unequivocal low morning plasma cortisol (<83 nmol/L) and high plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone levels were consistent with primary adrenal insufficiency. There was no evidence of malignancy or lymphoma. As the patient was from a tuberculosis-endemic area, extra-adrenal tuberculosis was excluded during the work up. A retroperitoneal laparoscopic left adrenalectomy was performed, and tuberculous adrenalitis was confirmed by the histopathological results. The patient was started on antituberculous therapy, in addition to glucocorticoid replacement. In conclusion, even without evidence of extra-adrenal tuberculosis, a diagnosis of bilateral adrenal tuberculosis is required. A histopathological examination has a significant role along with clinical judgement and hormonal workup in establishing a definitive diagnosis of adrenal tuberculosis without evidence of active extra-adrenal involvement.

Learning points

  • Primary adrenal insufficiency can be misdiagnosed as other mimicking diseases, such as gastrointestinal illness, leading to diagnostic pitfalls.

  • Adrenal insufficiency can be confirmed with significantly low morning plasma cortisol levels of <83 nmol/L without a dynamic short cosyntropin stimulation test.

  • Tuberculous adrenalitis is an uncommon treatable condition; however, it remains an important cause of primary adrenal insufficiency, especially in developing countries. In the absence of extra-adrenal involvement, adrenal biopsy plays a key role in the diagnostic process. Alternatively, adrenalectomy for histopathological purposes should be considered if CT scan-guided fine needle aspiration is infeasible in cases of small adrenal masses.

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Clare E Bonnar Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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John F Brazil Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Julie O Okiro Department of Nephrology, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Louise Giblin Department of Nephrology, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Yvonne Smyth Department of Cardiology, Galway, Ireland

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Paula M O’Shea Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Galway University Hospitals, Saolta University Healthcare Group, Galway, Ireland

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Francis M Finucane Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism

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Summary

A 32-year-old Caucasian male presented to the emergency department with a one-day history of acute severe bilateral lower limb weakness, three days after competing in a bodybuilding competition. He consumed large quantities of carbohydrate-rich foods following the competition. His past medical history was significant for anxiety, and family history was non-contributory. Examination was normal except for reduced power and hyporeflexia in both legs, despite his muscular physique. He was noted to have severe hypokalaemia (K+= 1.9 mmol/L). His thyroid function tests were consistent with thyrotoxicosis. He reported taking thyroxine and several other agents to facilitate muscle mass generation before the bodybuilding competition. His presentation was reminiscent of thyrotoxic periodic paralysis, albeit uncommon with Caucasian ethnicity. He also had transient hyperglycaemia at presentation with concomitant hyperinsulinaemia, which could be attributed to the carbohydrate load and may have exacerbated his hypokalaemia through a transcellular shift. Urine toxicology screen subsequently ruled out the use of diuretics but confirmed the presence of a long-acting beta agonist (clenbuterol) which, along with other substances, may have aggravated the hypokalaemia further. After 12 h of i.v. replacement, the potassium level normalised and leg weakness resolved. The patient agreed to stop taking thyroxine and beta agonists and was well during the clinic visit at one month follow-up. This case highlights the potential for thyrotoxicosis factitia to exacerbate hypokalaemia and muscle weakness from other causes in bodybuilders presenting with acute severe weakness, irrespective of ethnicity.

Learning points

  • In patients presenting with muscle weakness and hypokalaemia, early consideration of thyrotoxicosis is essential, even in the absence of a past history of thyroid disease or specific symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, in order to allow prompt initiation of appropriate treatment and to prevent recurrence.

  • Bodybuilders may constitute a uniquely ‘at-risk’ group for thyrotoxic periodic paralysis secondary to thyrotoxicosis factitia, especially where there is concomitant use of beta-adrenergic agonists, even in the absence of diuretic use.

  • Although rare and usually described in patients of Asian or Polynesian ethnicity, this case highlights that thyrotoxic periodic paralysis secondary to thyrotoxicosis factitia can also occur in patients with Caucasian ethnicity.

  • We speculate that consuming large quantities of carbohydrates may induce hyperinsulinaemia, which could theoretically contribute to worse hypokalaemia, though mechanistic studies would be needed to explore this further.

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Ayesha Ghayur Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Qurrat Elahi Department of Family Medicine, Pikeville Medicine Center, Pikeville, Kentucky, USA

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Chinmay Patel Department of Nephrology, Southern Kidney Associates, Shreveport, LA, USA

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Rishi Raj Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Pikeville Medical Center, Pikeville, Kentucky, USA

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Summary

Hypothyroidism is a common medical condition and is often easily managed with excellent outcomes, when treated adequately. Compliance with levothyroxine (LT4) therapy is often compromised because of the need for a daily and lasting schedule. Overt rhabdomyolysis due to under-treatment or non-compliance is a rare occurrence. We report a case of rhabdomyolysis leading to acute kidney injury (AKI) on chronic kidney disease (CKD) requiring hemodialysis (HD) in a 68-year-old Caucasian male due to non-compliance with levothyroxine (LT4) therapy. Our patient 'ran out of levothyroxine' for approximately 4 weeks and developed gradually progressive muscle pain. The diagnosis of severe AKI due to rhabdomyolysis was made based on oliguria, elevated creatinine kinase (CK), and renal failure. Resuming the home dose of LT4 failed to correct CK levels, and there was a progressive decline in renal function. Although increasing doses of LT4 and three cycles of HD improved CK levels, they remained above baseline at the time of discharge. The patient recovered gradually and required HD for 4 weeks. CK levels normalized at 6 weeks. Through this case report, we highlight that non-compliance with LT4 therapy can lead to life-threatening complications such as renal failure and hence the need to educate patients on the significance of compliance with LT4 therapy should be addressed.

Learning points

  • Non-compliance to levothyroxine therapy is common and can lead to serious complications, including rhabdomyolysis.

  • Rhabdomyolysis is an uncommon presentation of hypothyroidism and severe rhabdomyolysis can result in renal failure requiring hemodialysis.

  • Rhabdomyolysis associated with hypothyroidism can be further exacerbated by concomitant use of statins.

Open access
Ziadoon Faisal Department of General Medicine, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

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Miguel Debono Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK

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Summary

In this case report, we describe the management of a patient who was admitted with an ectopic ACTH syndrome during the COVID pandemic with new-onset type 2 diabetes, neutrophilia and unexplained hypokalaemia. These three findings when combined should alert physicians to the potential presence of Cushing’s syndrome (CS). On admission, a quick diagnosis of CS was made based on clinical and biochemical features and the patient was treated urgently using high dose oral metyrapone thus allowing delays in surgery and rapidly improving the patient’s clinical condition. This resulted in the treatment of hyperglycaemia, hypokalaemia and hypertension reducing cardiovascular risk and likely risk for infection. Observing COVID-19 pandemic international guidelines to treat patients with CS has shown to be effective and offers endocrinologists an option to manage these patients adequately in difficult times.

Learning points

  • This case report highlights the importance of having a low threshold for suspicion and investigation for Cushing’s syndrome in a patient with neutrophilia and hypokalaemia, recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes especially in someone with catabolic features of the disease irrespective of losing weight.

  • It also supports the use of alternative methods of approaching the diagnosis and treatment of Cushing’s syndrome during a pandemic as indicated by international protocols designed specifically for managing this condition during Covid-19.

Open access
Marina Yukina Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Nurana Nuralieva Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Ekaterina Sorkina Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Ekaterina Troshina Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Anatoly Tiulpakov Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Zhanna Belaya Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Galina Melnichenko Endocrinology Research Centre, Moscow, Russia

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Summary

Lamin A/C (LMNA) gene mutations cause a heterogeneous group of progeroid disorders, including Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, mandibuloacral dysplasia, atypical progeroid syndrome (APS) and generalized lipodystrophy-associated progeroid syndrome (GLPS). All of those syndromes are associated with some progeroid features, lipodystrophy and metabolic complications but vary differently depending on a particular mutation and even patients carrying the same gene variant are known to have clinical heterogeneity. We report a new 30-year-old female patient from Russia with an APS and generalized lipodystrophy (GL) due to the heterozygous de novo LMNA p.E262K mutation and compare her clinical and metabolic features to those of other described patients with APS. Despite many health issues, short stature, skeletal problems, GL and late diagnosis of APS, our patient seems to be relatively metabolically healthy for her age when compared to previously described patients with APS.

Learning points

  • Atypical progeroid syndromes (APS) are rare and heterogenic with different age of onset and degree of metabolic disorders, which makes this diagnosis very challenging for clinicians and may be missed until the adulthood.

  • The clinical picture of the APS depends on a particular mutation in the LMNA gene, but may vary even between the patients with the same mutation.

  • The APS due to a heterozygous LMNA p.E262K mutation, which we report in this patient, seems to have association with the generalized lipodystrophy, short stature and osteoporosis, but otherwise, it seems to cause relatively mild metabolic complications by the age of 30.

  • The patients with APS and lipodystrophy syndromes require a personalized and multidisciplinary approach, and so they should be referred to highly specialized reference-centres for diagnostics and treatment as early as possible.

  • Because of the high heterogeneity of such a rare disease as APS, every patient’s description is noteworthy for a better understanding of this challenging syndrome, including the analysis of genotype-phenotype correlations.

Open access
Rajiv Singh Department of Internal Medicine, Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, U

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Cynthia Mohandas Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, UK

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Summary

A phaeochromocytoma is a rare neuroendocrine tumour derived from the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. Tumours can produce excessive amounts of catecholamines. The presenting symptoms can vary but often include the classic triad of episodic headaches, sweating and palpitations. Due to catecholamine excess, patients can develop cardiomyopathy. Bradycardia and collapse could be the result of sinus node dysfunction or transient dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. Patients with co-existing diabetes can have improvement or resolution of their diabetes after successful adrenalectomy. We report a case of an 87-year-old lady who initially presented with sweating, palpitations and collapse, resulting in a permanent pacemaker insertion. She was later found to have a large adrenal incidentaloma with subsequent markedly elevated plasma metanephrine levels. She later presented with chest pain and in acute pulmonary oedema with normal coronary arteries visualised on coronary angiogram. After surgical excision of her phaeochromocytoma, her diabetes resolved with her HbA1c improving from 68 to 46 mmol/mol, with no further requirement for diabetic medications. Her pulmonary oedema improved with no ongoing need for diuretic therapy. This case highlights that phaeochromocytomas can affect multiple systems and there should be a very high index of suspicion in patients presenting with sweating, palpitations, hypertension and a history of diabetes and even in those with collapse.

Learning points

  • There should be a high index of suspicion for phaeochromocytomas in patients with palpitations, diaphoresis, anxiety, hypertension and diabetes.

  • Rarely phaeochromocytomas can present as bradycardia and collapse due to sinus node dysfunction or transient autonomic dysregulation and that should be considered in older patients.

  • Catecholamine cardiomyopathy can occur in phaeochromocytoma with potential resolution after successful surgical excision.

  • Diabetes can resolve after successful surgical treatment of a phaeochromocytoma.

Open access
Antonella Corcillo Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, London, UK and School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London UK

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Zoe Kleinaki European University Cyprus, School of Medicine, Nicosia, Cyprus

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Stella Kapnisi European University Cyprus, School of Medicine, Nicosia, Cyprus

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Nikolaos Fountoulakis Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, London, UK and School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London UK

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Giuseppe Maltese Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, London, UK and School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London UK

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Stephen M Thomas Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, London, UK and School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London UK

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Janaka Karalliedde Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, London, UK and School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London UK

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Summary

A 26-year-old Caucasian female with no past medical history or family history of auto-immune disease presented to the emergency department with new onset painless left foot drop. A panel of blood tests revealed blood glucose of 49.9 mmol/L and raised blood ketone levels. The patient was referred to the diabetes team who made a clinical diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1DM) and insulin treatment was initiated. Elevated levels of diabetes auto-antibodies were subsequently detected. Nerve conduction studies demonstrated a left common peroneal nerve lesion with conduction block at the fibular head. After 2 weeks of insulin treatment, a significant improvement of her foot drop was observed and after 8 weeks she was walking normally. The most probable cause of her foot drop was acute diabetic mononeuropathy. To our knowledge, there are no similar cases in adult patients reported in the literature. Our case highlights the importance of physicians being aware of atypical presentation of new onset T1DM.

Learning points:

  • There is an increasing incidence of T1DM with more than half of patients presenting after the age of 20.

  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can present both acutely and as a mononeuropathy.

  • Although rare, clinicians should be aware of mononeuropathy as a presenting symptom of T1DM to avoid delay in the treatment initiation.

  • This case highlights an unusual presentation of T1DM and illustrates the importance of the early diagnosis and management of T1DM.

Open access