Understanding auto-immune encephalitis in the ICU

  • R. SonnevilleEmail author
  • A. Venkatesan
  • J. Honnorat
Understanding the Disease

Encephalitis is a severe neurological syndrome that presents as rapidly progressive encephalopathy caused by brain inflammation, with varying combinations of fever, focal central nervous system (CNS) findings, new-onset seizures, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis, and neuroimaging and electroencephalography (EEG) abnormalities [1]. It is associated with a multitude of etiologies, including viral infections [2], but in recent years, an increasing number of autoimmune encephalitides (AE) characterized by specific autoantibodies has been recognized [3]. Intensivists should be aware of AE and associated complications because patients frequently necessitate ICU care, specific therapy during several weeks, and because a favorable outcome is observed in most cases.

When to suspect autoimmune encephalitis in ICU?

There are no specific symptoms of AE and the diagnosis should be suspected in patients with a recent history of short-term memory loss, altered mental status or psychiatric...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

RS received grants from the French Ministry of Health, the French society of intensive care medicine (SRLF) and the European society of intensive care medicine (ESICM), and lecture fees from Baxter. The other authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.APHP, Department of Intensive Care Medicine and Infectious DiseasesBichat-Claude Bernard University HospitalParisFrance
  2. 2.Université de Paris, INSERM UMR1148, team 6ParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Encephalitis CenterJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.French Reference Center on Paraneoplastic Neurological Syndrome, Hospices Civils de LyonHôpital NeurologiqueBronFrance
  5. 5.Institut NeuroMyoGene INSERM U1217/CNRS, UMR 5310Université de Lyon–Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1LyonFrance

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