Acute psychosis in a pregnant patient with Graves' hyperthyroidism and anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis

BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Apr 22;2015:bcr2014208052. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-208052.


A previously healthy 36-year-old woman presented with visual hallucinations and acute psychosis manifested predominantly as hypersexuality. Laboratory testing demonstrated elevated free thyroxine levels, suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and presence of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies consistent with Graves' disease. Despite achieving biochemical euthyroidism, she remained profoundly hypersexual. She did not respond to additional treatment with antipsychotics and corticosteroids, prompting further evaluation. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis detected pleocytosis, elevated IgG, and presence of antibodies against anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 and TPO. These results suggested a diagnosis of anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Prior to initiation of immunomodulator therapy, she was discovered to be pregnant with date of conception around the time of her original presentation. She received plasmapheresis with resolution of psychosis and decrease in free thyroxine levels. Graves' disease remitted during the remainder of the pregnancy but relapsed 5 months post partum. She has not had further neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / diagnosis
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / psychology*
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graves Disease / diagnosis
  • Graves Disease / psychology*
  • Graves Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / diagnosis
  • Hyperthyroidism / psychology*
  • Hyperthyroidism / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome