Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune-mediated rheumatic disease characterized by multisystem involvement that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare, fulminant, autoimmune-mediated, demyelinating disease involving the white matter of the central nervous system (CNS), and is considered a manifestation of neuropsychiatric lupus.
Explore this issueJanuary 2018
Few reported cases involve SLE and ADEM occurring simultaneously. Some of these cases were preceded by an infection, but others had no identifiable cause. One 2015 study suggests SLE can present as ADEM, because both occur due to abnormal immune regulation.1 ADEM with lupus rarely appears in the literature, and ADEM as the initial presentation is even rarer.
We present one such case below.
A 21-year-old African American male appeared in an emergency department with pain in his left calf, initially thought to be cellulitis. A few days after his initial evaluation, he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which was treated with apixaban.