Extensive longitudinal acute transverse myelitis complicated by pulseless ventricular tachycardia and recent shingles vaccination

Am J Emerg Med. 2023 Jun:68:213.e1-213.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2023.04.033. Epub 2023 Apr 23.


This case describes a 50-year-old male with a history of psoriatic arthritis who presented to the emergency department with a chief complaint of ascending bilateral lower extremity paresthesia one week following a shingles vaccine. MRI of the patient's spine was significant for longitudinally extensive T2 hyperintensity involving the lower cervical spine with extension into the upper thoracic spine suggestive of acute transverse myelitis (ATM). The patient's hospital course was complicated by a self-limiting episode of pulseless ventricular tachycardia accompanied by a brief loss of consciousness. Initial treatment included IV solumedrol, however due to lack of clinical improvement after a 5-day steroid treatment, plasmapheresis was initiated. The patient's condition improved with plasmapheresis and he was subsequently discharged to a rehab facility with a diagnosis of ATM of unclear etiology. Extensive serology, cardiac and CSF studies failed to determine the cause of this patient's myelitis or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. The following case report explores the potential factors that may have contributed to this patient's symptoms.

Keywords: Acute transverse myelitis; Parainfectious transverse myelitis; Shingles vaccine; Varicella zoster virus; Ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Herpes Zoster* / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelitis, Transverse* / complications
  • Myelitis, Transverse* / diagnosis
  • Myelitis, Transverse* / therapy
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular* / complications
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular* / therapy
  • Vaccination / adverse effects