Hyperglycemia-related central pontine demyelinization after a binge-eating attack in a patient with type-2 diabetes: a case report.BMC Endocr Disord. 2018 Mar 12; 18(1):18.BE
Here, we report a case of central pontine demyelinization in a type-2 diabetes patient with hyperglycemia after a binge-eating attack in the absence of a relevant hyponatremia.
A 55-year-old, male type-2 diabetic patient with liver cirrhosis stage Child-Pugh B was admitted due to dysmetria of his right arm, gait disturbance, dizziness, vertigo, and polyuria, polydipsia after a binge-eating attack of sweets (a whole fruit cake and 2 Liters of soft drinks). A recently initiated insulin therapy had been discontinued for 8 months. A serum glucose measurement obtained 5 days prior to hospitalisation was 38.5 mmol/l (694 mg/dl). The patient graved for sweets since stopping alcohol consumption 8 months earlier. On admission, venous-blood glucose was 29.1 mmol/l (523.8 mg/dl), glycated hemoglobin was 168.0 mmol/mol or 17.6%. No supplementation of sodium chloride was reported. Laboratory exams revealed an elevated serum ammonia level (127.1 μmol/l), rendering a hepatic encephalopathy very likely. After initiation of insulin therapy, capillary glucose normalized, and serum sodium rose from 133 on admission to 144 mmol/l during the hospital stay. In retrospect, the mild hyponatremia on admission was classified as pseudohyponatremia due to hyperglycemia. The patient had an insulin resistance (HOMA-IR 7.8 (normal range < 2.5)). A T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head and a cranial computed tomography scan were obtained demonstrating a symmetric central pontine demyelinization. After 26 days in hospital, the patient was discharged with an inkretin-mimetic therapy (dulaglutide SC, 1.5 mg/week) and an intensified conventional insulin therapy (insulin aspart: 14 units/d in euglycemia, insulin glargin 20 units/d).
Central pontine and/or cerebellar myelinolysis can be caused by sudden, severe, and sustained hyperglycemia, especially when another risk factor (in this case, liver cirrhosis) is present. Functional neurological deficits in the context of hyperglycemia should prompt for the consideration of this differential diagnosis in all diabetes patients.