DOI: 10.3390/jcm13010206 ISSN: 2077-0383

A Near-Fatal Encounter with Acute Suicidal Behavior in Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate Autoimmune Encephalitis

Eunmi Lee, Minjee Kim, Kyu-Hyouck Kyoung, Jin Yong Jun
  • General Medicine

Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis (anti-NMDARE) is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome known for its diverse neurological manifestations, often involving psychiatric symptoms and seizures that elevate the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. We present a case illustrating the potentially lethal nature of anti-NMDARE, wherein an unexpected suicide attempt occurred 10 days after the onset of seizures in a 21-year-old man. Upon arrival at the emergency room, immediate interventions addressed hypovolemic shock, followed by subsequent neurosurgical and orthopedic procedures. Six days after cessation of sedation, the patient exhibited atypical focal seizures, behavioral arrest, psychotic responses, and delusions. Despite normal brain magnetic resonance imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis results, a high CSF immunoglobulin G index and posterior hypometabolism on brain F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography raised suspicion of autoimmune encephalitis. Steroids and intravenous immunoglobulins were administered. A comprehensive evaluation ruled out other conditions. Serum and CSF tests confirmed the presence of anti-NMDAR antibodies. This case highlights the potential lethality of the acute stage of anti-NMDARE, emphasizing the absence of apparent psychiatric symptoms before a suicide attempt. Further studies on suicidality associated with anti-NMDARE are crucial, underscoring the importance of vigilance in cases involving newly diagnosed seizures or psychoses.

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