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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 29

BMJ Case Rep



Recrudescence of severe polyneuropathy after receiving Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in a patient with a history of eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis.


A middle age man with a history of diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension, migraine and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) with polyneuropathy in remission presented with paresthesia and motor weakness soon after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 messanger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. The patient had polyneuropathy 10 years ago secondary to EGPA, which had resolved. EGPA was diagnosed on the basis of typical symptoms and positive sural nerve biopsy. Five days after receiving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, he developed heaviness and reduced dexterity of both the upper extremities, which progressed to patchy and asymmetric motor weakness of all four extremities. Given the lack of clear alternative explanation after a thorough work up, recrudescence of underlying asymptomatic polyneuropathy due to a possible reaction to COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was considered although a temporal association with vaccine dose does not prove causality. He was treated with corticosteroids with slow improvement of his symptoms.