The diagnostic spectrum in patients with suspected chronic Lyme neuroborreliosis – the experience from one year of a university hospital’s Lyme neuroborreliosis outpatients clinic
Article first published online: 27 OCT 2010
© 2010 The Author(s). European Journal of Neurology © 2010 EFNS
European Journal of Neurology
Volume 18, Issue 4, pages 547–555, April 2011
How to Cite
Djukic, M., Schmidt-Samoa, C., Nau, R., von Steinbüchel, N., Eiffert, H. and Schmidt, H. (2011), The diagnostic spectrum in patients with suspected chronic Lyme neuroborreliosis – the experience from one year of a university hospital’s Lyme neuroborreliosis outpatients clinic. European Journal of Neurology, 18: 547–555. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2010.03229.x
- Issue published online: 16 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 27 OCT 2010
- Received 23 November 2009 Accepted 25 August 2010
- diagnostic spectrum;
- Lyme neuroborreliosis
Background and purpose: Studies addressing the diagnostic relevance of anti-Borrelia burgdorferi (BB) serum antibodies in patients with non-specific symptoms and suspected chronic Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) are scarce.
Methods: In this study, we enrolled within 1 year 122 patients with suspected chronic LNB. One hundred and fourteen patients had previously tested positive for BB. All patients had previously received antibiotic treatment. Each patient received a clinical examination and measurement of BB-specific antibodies. The diagnosis of neuroborreliosis was made according to the national guidelines of the German Society of Neurology. Nine patients had acute borreliosis. One of the nine met the criteria of acute LNB. Of the remaining 113 patients, 85 patients underwent a lumbar puncture. Ten seronegative subjects without lumbar puncture were also considered. In 61.8% of these 95 patients the quality of life, of sleep, mood, and anxiety were assessed.
Results: Of 95 patients, 25.3% had symptoms without a somatic cause or evidence of borreliosis, 38.9% had a well-defined illness unrelated to BB infection, and 29.5% suffered from symptoms without a detectable somatic cause, displaying antibodies against BB. Six patients were grouped as post-LNB syndrome. Most common symptoms in all categories were arthralgia, myalgia, dysaesthesia, depressive mood and chronic fatigue.
Conclusion: Patients with persistent symptoms with elevated serum antibodies against BB but without signs of cerebrospinal fluid inflammation require further diagnostic examinations to exclude ongoing infection and to avoid co-infections and other treatable conditions (e.g. autoimmune diseases). One patient with acute LNB, who was treated with ceftriaxone for 3 weeks suffered from LNB with new headaches and persistent symptoms 6 months later. These data should encourage further studies with new experimental parameters.