4-month-old treated for rare autoimmune disease in Chennai

The child was brought to Dr Mehta’s Hospitals, Chetpet with complaints of fever and deteriorating state of consciousness, he stopped feeding, never responded to his parents, and began convulsing.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: A 4-month-old boy with a rare autoimmune disorder was treated successfully at a private hospital in Chennai. Autoimmune disorders in infants are rare and difficult to diagnose because of the rare occurrence. The patient was the youngest with such an autoimmune illness.

The child was brought to Dr Mehta’s Hospitals, Chetpet with complaints of fever and deteriorating state of consciousness, he stopped feeding, never responded to his parents, and began convulsing. The boy was examined by a medical team led by senior paediatrician Dr Gnanabalan at the hospital, who suspected that the boy might have the uncommon brain inflammation disease known as Autoimmune Encephalitis, which is unheard of in children this young.

The boy was placed on a ventilator after doctors carefully considered his symptoms and preliminary tests. Laboratory testing confirmed that the boy had autoimmune encephalitis, a disorder in which the immune system of the body attacks brain cells.

Immunomodulatory therapy was started by the medical team, which included an intensivist, a paediatric neurologist and the paediatrician. "Immunomodulatory therapy is a medication that blocks some of the human body’s defence system functions, and therefore it is administered to regulate the patient immune system. As soon as the therapy was begun, the boy's condition gradually improved, and after one month of treatment, he recovered fully and was discharged. Autoimmune encephalitis is a devastating condition in children less than one year of age. This medical case was very challenging as the patient required multi-specialty intervention and constant monitoring, " said Dr Gnanabalan.

Timely diagnosis and treatment plays a major role in case of autoimmune diseases in children. The immunomodulatory therapy gave a positive turn around in the boy’s health condition, and he is back to his usual self, with zero evidence of the disease now as per the MRI scan taken at the end of the treatment, added Dr. Gnanabalan.

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