Rapid resolution of akinetic mutism in delayed post-hypoxic leukoencephalopathy with intravenous magnesium sulfate

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9 Scopus citations


Objective/Background: Delayed post-hypoxic leukoencephalopathy is a rare condition marked by the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms, parkinsonism and akinetic mutism days to weeks after an individual has recovered from a prolonged cerebral hypoxic event. This syndrome can cause significant long-term neurologic dysfunction. At present there are no acute treatment strategies that have been identified that have been shown to alter the natural course of this disorder. In most instances all that can be offered to patients is early supportive care and then subsequent rehabilitation services. Methods: Case Report. Results: A patient is presented who developed new onset encephalopathy, extrapyramidal symptoms and akinetic mutism three weeks after being discharged for a respiratory arrest from a drug overdose. MRI showed the development of extensive white matter and bilateral globus pallidus lesions. She had rapid resolution of akinetic mutism with intravenous magnesium sulfate as well as improvement in her other associated neurologic symptoms. Conclusion: The case report suggests the use of intravenous magnesium sulfate as an acute treatment for the akinetic mutism associated with delayed post-hypoxic leukoencephalopathy. In addition it also may improve the extrapyramidal and neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with this syndrome. This may be the first potential acute treatment for this rare neurologic condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-332
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Delayed post-hypoxic leukoencephalopathy
  • akinetic mutism
  • magnesium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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