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Unusual case of acute urinary retention in a young female
  1. Belinda Zer Hui Chern1,
  2. Shivani Rajaraman1,
  3. Geetika Verma2,
  4. Kenneth Wei Jian Heng3
  1. 1School of Medicine, National University Singapore Yong Loo Lin, Singapore, Singapore
  2. 2School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  3. 3Emergency Department, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kenneth Wei Jian Heng, khengwj{at}


We report an unusual case of a 17-year-old young female presenting to the emergency department with varicella infection, acute urinary retention (AUR) and no other neurological deficits. An MRI of the spine confirmed the diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis. Positive serum IgG antibodies against varicella zoster virus (VZV) suggested a parainfectious aetiology. The patient eventually developed weakness and a sensory level from the third thoracic dermatome on day 2 of hospitalisation. Awareness that AUR can precede other neurological deficits in VZV transverse myelitis will prevent misdiagnosis and allow for the prompt treatment of this debilitating illness.

  • emergency medicine
  • spinal cord
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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the article equally. KWJH conceptualised and designed the content. BZHC, SR and GV conducted research, acquired data and analysed the information acquired. The article was written by BZHC, SR and GV, and was finalised by KWJH.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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

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