Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Case Report

A case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis presenting with rapid progression of respiratory deterioration due to severe obesity

Daisuke Baba, M.D.1j, Naoto Jingami, M.D., Ph.D.1j2j, Takuma Minami, M.D., Ph.D.1j3j, Kwiyoung Park, M.D.4j, Ryosuke Takahashi, M.D., Ph.D.2j and Shigeru Ohtsuru, M.D., Ph.D.1j

1) Department of Primary Care and Emergency Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
2) Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
3) Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
4) Department of Neurology and Clinical Research Center, Utano National Hospital

A 55-year-old woman with extreme obesity presenting with limb weakness since 1 year was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) based on clinical findings and needle electromyography. She had a habit of overeating, and her body mass index (BMI) was 38.2. MRI showed an enlargement of the right central cerebral sulcus, and N-isopropyl-p-[123I]-iodoamphetamine single-photon emission computed tomography demonstrated reduced blood flow predominantly in the right frontal lobes, suggesting overlapping frontotemporal dementia (FTD). She maintained adequate dietary intake, and her BMI was stable at 38.2 until 3 months after diagnosis. However, over the next 2 months, her dietary intake decreased owing to pronounced bulbar palsy and BMI decreased to 34.5. At this point, forced vital capacity decreased from 69.3 to 39.0, while forced expiratory volume in 1 second decreased from 75.3 to 47.7. Consequently, noninvasive ventilation at night was initiated, followed by tracheostomy invasive ventilation at the emergency department after 2 months. We assume that the frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathology progressed to the frontal lobe and hypothalamus over time, which increased the patient's excessive appetite and body weight. Her obesity reduced the compliance of the thorax and increased the workload of the respiratory muscles, resulting in rapid respiratory deterioration. Additionally, the extensive neurodegeneration, extending to the area other than the primary motor cortex, might have played a pivotal role in rapid ALS progression. High-calorie nutritional management is generally recommended in patients with ALS. Although the prognosis of patients with ALS having BMI under 27 can be improved via high calorie intake and BMI maintenance, the nutritional management strategy for patients with ALS and high obesity (BMI ≥ 35) remains unclear. Through this case we emphasize that in patients with ALS and FTD excessive appetite and obesity can lead to rapid respiratory deterioration, and therefore, prudent calorie management is recommended.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (1714K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 62: 602|608, 2022)
key words: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, obesity, nutrition therapy, CO2 narcosis

(Received: 18-Nov-21)