Acute Ascending Necrotizing Myelitis After COVID-19 Infection: A Clinicopathologic Report

Objectives

Neurologic manifestations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19) infection are common and varied. The objective of this report was to describe clinicopathologic findings of rare acute ascending necrotizing myelitis (ANM) and briefly summarize similar COVID-19–associated longitudinally extended transverse myelitis cases.

Methods

We described the clinical presentation, disease course, diagnostic workup, therapeutic measures, and pathologic findings of ANM associated with COVID-19 infection.

Results

A 31-year-old previously healthy woman developed a longitudinally extensive lower thoracic myelopathy 3 weeks after COVID-19 infection. The thoracic spinal cord lesion extended to cervical level in 1 week and to the lower medullary level in 2 more weeks. Thoracic laminectomy at T5-T6 level and cord biopsy revealed necrobiotic changes without viral particles or microglial nodules. The clinical deficit stabilized after immunomodulatory and eculizumab therapies.

Discussion

COVID-19 infection can cause ANM. It adds to the spectrum of reported cases of COVID-19 –associated encephalitis and myelitis.

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