Skip to main content

01.12.2016 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2016

Recovery from a possible cytomegalovirus meningoencephalitis-induced apparent brain stem death in an immunocompetent man: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2016
Theresia Monica Rahardjo, Tinni Trihartini Maskoen, Ike Sri Redjeki



Recovery from cytomegalovirus meningoencephalitis with brain stem death in an immunocompetent patient is almost impossible. We present a remarkable recovery from a possible cytomegalovirus infection in an immunocompetent man who had severe neurological syndromes, suggesting brain stem death complicated by pneumonia and pleural effusion.

Case presentation

A 19-year-old Asian man presented at our hospital’s emergency department with reduced consciousness and seizures following high fever, headache, confusion, and vomitus within a week before arrival. He was intubated and sent to our intensive care unit. He had nuchal rigidity and tetraparesis with accentuated tendon reflexes. Electroencephalography findings suggested an acute structural lesion at his right temporal area or an epileptic state. A cerebral spinal fluid examination suggested viral infection. A computed tomography scan was normal at the early stage of disease. Immunoglobulin M, immunoglobulin G anti-herpes simplex virus, and immunoglobulin M anti-cytomegalovirus were negative. However, immunoglobulin G anti-cytomegalovirus was positive, which supported a diagnosis of cytomegalovirus meningoencephalitis. His clinical condition deteriorated, spontaneous respiration disappeared, cranial reflexes became negative, and brain stem death was suspected. Therapy included antivirals, corticosteroids, antibiotics, anticonvulsant, antipyretics, antifungal agents, and a vasopressor to maintain hemodynamic stability. After 1 month, he showed a vague response to painful stimuli at his supraorbital nerve and respiration started to appear the following week. After pneumonia and pleural effusion were resolved, he was weaned from the ventilator and moved from the intensive care unit on day 90.


This case highlights several important issues that should be considered. First, the diagnosis of brain stem death must be confirmed with caution even if there are negative results of brain stem death test for a long period. Second, cytomegalovirus meningoencephalitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis even for an immunocompetent adult. Third, accurate therapy and simultaneous intensive care have very important roles in the recovery process of patients with cytomegalovirus meningoencephalitis.

Unsere Produktempfehlungen

e.Med Interdisziplinär


Für Ihren Erfolg in Klinik und Praxis - Die beste Hilfe in Ihrem Arbeitsalltag als Mediziner

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf

e.Med Allgemeinmedizin


Mit e.Med Allgemeinmedizin erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Premium-Inhalten der allgemeinmedizinischen Zeitschriften, inklusive einer gedruckten Allgemeinmedizin-Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl.

Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2016

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2016 Zur Ausgabe