Location-atypical lesions in non-ketotic hyperglycemic epilepsy: expanding the clinico-radiographic phenotype

Jordan Y. Amar, Anup K. Bhattacharya, Adaku M. Uzo-Okereke, Chris A. Chou, Katie D. Vo, Manu S. Goyal, Robert C. Bucelli

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Scopus citations


Non-ketotic hyperglycemia (NKH) is associated with a spectrum of symptoms and radiographic findings due to poorly-controlled diabetes mellitus. These lesions, which predominantly affect the parieto-occipital cortex, are commonly missed by neurologists and neuroradiologists due to their subtle hypointense appearance on T2-based imaging. We report four atypical cases of this syndrome to highlight its subtle, protean presentation in order to aid timely diagnosis. Based on our institutional case series, we describe four cases of NKH with atypical presentation and lesion burden affecting the anterior cortex. We review the clinical presentations, laboratory abnormalities, neuroimaging, and corresponding electroencephalography. Four patients with atypical NKH were characterized in our series. Presenting symptoms ranged from rhythmic handtapping to generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus. Laboratory values were notable for marked hyperglycemia (range: 447 – 627 mg/dL), mild pseudohyponatremia (range: 127 – 136 mmol/L), and elevated hemoglobin A1C levels (range: 10.9 16.1%). All patients were found to have the classically described pattern of T2-based hypointensity; three with atypical distributions involving the “anterior” cortex. These lesions corresponded to the electrographic nidus of seizure burden. During follow-up, both seizures and T2-based hypointensity resolved within weeks of serum glucose normalization. Our series of four NKH patients with atypical findings of T2-based signal abnormalities expands the clinico-radiographic phenotype revealing a more protean distribution than previously described. Knowledge of these atypical imaging features will aid both the neurologist and radiologist in timely diagnosis and care of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1109
Number of pages8
JournalEpileptic Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • NKH
  • epilepsy
  • hyperglycemia
  • hypointensity
  • non-ketotic
  • seizure


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