What are the complications of stiff person syndrome?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Nancy Theresa Rodgers-Neame, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Answer

Complications of this disease are multifaceted and may occur at any stage of the disease. In general, complications are responsible for the mortality and morbidity and are discussed in more detail in Complications.

Infants with stiff baby syndrome are at particularly high risk of sudden infant death and require monitoring.

  • Complications of baclofen pump failure can occur. Cataclysmic exacerbations of the disease have been reported due to baclofen pump failure. At least one death has been reported. In addition, rare malfunctions of the baclofen pump have been associated with excessive release of baclofen intrathecally also resulting in death or permanent disability.

  • Psychiatric morbidity from this disease is common. The unpredictability of symptoms and the linkage to stressful events only serve to exacerbate the situation. In addition, GABA mechanisms subserve many of the brain's emotional centers, which may contribute significantly to the psychiatric symptomatology.

  • Musculoskeletal complications are common, particularly in later stages of the disease. Joint deformity, joint dislocation, joint contracture, skeletal fracture, and muscle rupture have been reported.


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