An Unusual Cause of Bulbar Palsy in the Emergency Department.

The Journal of Emergency Medicine
G EzhilkuganR Gunaseelan


Osmotic demyelination syndrome commonly occurs after rapid correction of hyponatremia. But it has also been reported after graded correction of hyponatremia in the presence of other risk factors like chronic alcoholism, malnutrition, liver disease, and hypokalemia. We report a case of a 67-year-old man who presented with dysphagia and nasal regurgitation and had features suggestive of bulbar palsy on neurological examination. He had spontaneous rapid correction of hyponatremia from a serum sodium level of 122 mEq/L to 132 mEq/L after discharge from our hospital. Neuroimaging was suggestive of extrapontine myelinolysis involving the basal ganglia. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: An emergency physician should be aware of this because osmotic demyelination syndrome should also be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with bulbar palsy to the emergency department.

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