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Acute longitudinal extensive transverse myelitis secondary to asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection
  1. Gabriel Lee
  1. Acute Internal Medicine, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gabriel Lee; Gabriel.q.lee{at}


A 35-year-old woman, 6 months post partum, presented with acute onset back pain at the T8 level progressing to bilateral lower limb weakness and sensory loss with urinary retention and constipation. This patient had a pre-existing inflammatory disease, having recently developed ulcerative colitis antenatally. Five days prior to admission, she had tested positive asymptomatically on a SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcriptase PCR nasopharyngeal swab. The positive swab result was confirmed on admission. Clinical examination revealed bilaterally exaggerated knee reflexes, lower limb weakness and positive Babinski’s sign. Sensation was impaired at L4 and L5 dermatomes and absent at S1 and S2. MRI findings suggested longitudinal extensive transverse myelitis, with multiple regions of patchy hyperintensity seen in the thoracic region of the spinal cord both centrally and peripherally. She was started on a course of intravenous corticosteroids and improvement was seen both clinically and on repeat imaging. This case demonstrates a rare complication to an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection and explores the potential neurotropic properties of COVID-19.

  • COVID-19
  • neurology (drugs and medicines)
  • spinal cord
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • ulcerative colitis

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  • Contributors GL is the sole contributor to this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.