Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Lyme disease is a tick-borne spirochaete infection which, in a proportion of patients, can lead to neuropathy. This article describes a case of diaphragmatic paralysis due to
Lyme disease. A 39-yr-old male presented to the hospital because of an acute left facial palsy. Six weeks prior to admission he had developed a circular rash on his left flank during a camping holiday. He also complained of shortness of breath and arthralgia for 1 week. His chest radiograph demonstrated a raised right hemi-diaphragm. Diaphragmatic paralysis was confirmed by fluoroscopy (a positive sniff test). Serology revealed evidence of recent infection by Borrelia burgdorferi. On the basis of the patient’s clinical presentation, a recent history of erythema migrans, and positive
Lyme serology, a diagnosis of neuroborreliosis was made. He received oral doxycycline therapy (200 mg x day(-1)) for three weeks. Facial and diaphragmatic palsies resolved within eight weeks. On the basis of this case, a diagnosis of
Lyme disease should be considered in patients from endemic regions with otherwise unexplained phrenic nerve palsy.