Cytomegalovirus-related transverse myelitis in an immunocompetent host: a subacute onset of an immune-mediated disease?

Document Type


Publication Date



We report a case of transverse myelitis in an immunocompetent host with an atypical long onset of symptoms. A 56-year-old man was admitted to the hospital reporting 5 months of progressive ascending lower extremity weakness and numbness, inability to walk, bowel incontinence,urinary retention and several episodes of nausea and vomiting. MRI showed moderate spinal swelling and multiple hyperintense signal changes on cervical levels C2-C5 and thoracic levels T1-T3. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) showed pleocytosis and was positive for anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG intrathecal antibodies, but the CSF PCR for CMV was negative. The diagnosis of immune-mediated CMV-related transverse myelitis was established and the patient was treated with methylprednisolone and valgancyclovir. The patient had poor recovery and remained paraplegic at discharge.