OBJECTIVES: Hyperthyroidism is often associated with various neuromuscular disorders, most commonly proximal myopathy. Peripheral nerve involvement in hyperthyroidism is very uncommon and has rarely been reported. We describe a 29-year-old woman with untreated hyperthyroidism who presented with chronic severe axonal sensory-motor polyneuropathy. Peripheral nerve involvement developed together with other symptoms of hyperthyroidism 2 years before presentation. She also had anorexia nervosa for the past 6 months, resulting in multivitamin deficiency.
RESULTS: Electrophysiological and pathological findings as well as clinical manifestations confirmed the diagnosis of severe axonal polyneuropathy. Anorexia nervosa has been considered a manifestation of untreated hyperthyroidism. We considered hyperthyroidism to be an important causal factor in the polyneuropathy in our patient, although peripheral nerve involvement in hyperthyroidism is rare. To our knowledge, this is the first documented case of chronic severe axonal polyneuropathy ascribed to both hyperthyroidism and multivitamin deficiency.
CONCLUSION: Our findings strongly suggest that not only multivitamin deficiency, but also hyperthyroidism can cause axonal polyneuropathy, thus expanding the clinical spectrum of hyperthyroidism.