A lightning strike to the head causing a visual cortex defect with simple and complex visual hallucinations
- 1Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
- 2Austrian Lightning Detection and Information System (ALDIS), Vienna, Austria
- I Kleiter,
- Published 7 July 2009
The case of a 23-year-old mountaineer who was hit by a lightning strike to the occiput causing a large central visual field defect and bilateral tympanic membrane ruptures is described. Owing to extreme agitation, the patient was sent into a drug-induced coma for 3 days. After extubation, she experienced simple and complex visual hallucinations for several days, but otherwise largely recovered. Neuropsychological tests revealed deficits in fast visual detection tasks and non-verbal learning and indicated a right temporal lobe dysfunction, consistent with a right temporal focus on electroencephalography. At 4 months after the accident, she developed a psychological reaction consisting of nightmares, with reappearance of the complex visual hallucinations and a depressive syndrome. Using the European Cooperation for Lightning Detection network, a meteorological system for lightning surveillance, the exact geographical location and nature of the lightning strike were retrospectively retraced
Competing interests: None.