Submission Type

Case Report


Introduction: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare demyelinating process of the central nervous system that occurs in in the setting of severe immunocompromise. Patients with PML develop varying focal neurological deficits and mental status changes that have not been well-described previously.

Clinical findings: We present a patient who was found by security wandering the lobby of this hospital. He was oriented only to self and unable to state a reason for presentation. Medical records were limited and included a visit to an outside hospital that documented a past medical history of HIV infection. He exhibited multiple signs of psychosis such as thought blocking and a disorganized thought process.

Main diagnoses, therapeutic interventions, and outcomes: After thorough evaluation, he was diagnosed with HIV-associated PML based on a CD4 count of 68 cells/microliter, subcortical white matter signal abnormalities on brain MRI, and positive CSF PCR for JC polyomavirus. Despite initiation of antiretroviral therapy, he unfortunately clinically declined and was ultimately transitioned to hospice care.

Conclusions: While survival from PML has significantly improved with the advent of antiretroviral therapy, the overall prognosis remains poor. This case report emphasizes that PML should be included in the differential diagnosis for any immunocompromised patients with mental status changes even if they do not present with overt focal neurological deficits. It also highlights the importance of continuous HIV medical care to minimize the risk of patients developing such devastating complications.



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