Turkish Neurosurgery
COVID-19 Vaccine Related Cervical Radiculitis and Parsonage-Turner Syndrome: Illustrative Case and Review of the Literature
Zachary Taylor1, Ravi Nunna1, Angela Tran1, Matias Costa1, Maxwell Gruber1, Periklis Godiolas1, Zachary Litvack1
1Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Neurosurgery, Seattle, WA,
DOI: 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.44533-23.2

Background Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, or neuralgic amyotrophy, is an acute-onset upper limb and shoulder girdle palsy that can occur in a post-viral, post-surgical or idiopathic setting. There have also been some reported cases of the syndrome occurring following vaccinations. The pathophysiology of neuralgic amyotrophy is not completely understood and many of the commonly used diagnostic imaging modalities we use to try and diagnose this syndrome are inaccurate and misleading. Case description We present the case of a 40-year-old gentleman who presented with acute onset burning pain and fasciculations in his right upper extremity following vaccination with the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. His symptoms progressed to weakness in isolated muscle groups with electromyographic evidence of decreased nerve conduction. MRI of the cervical spine demonstrated multilevel central and foraminal stenosis, suggesting a diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy. The patient underwent a C4-5/C5-6 and C6-7 laminoforaminotomy and tolerated the procedure well. Post-operatively, the patient has experienced gradual symptom improvement with residual right triceps and pectoralis muscle weakness as well as paresthesias of the right elbow and forearm. Conclusion Parsonage-Turner Syndrome is a brachial plexus palsy that can affect one or multiple branches of the brachial plexus. It causes acute-onset pain and weakness, and the diagnosis can be difficult to make with the commonly used diagnostic imaging methods. We reviewed other case reports about neuralgic amyotrophy following vaccinations as well as the current literature on more accurate diagnostic imaging modalities that may help our diagnosis and understanding of the pathophysiology of this condition.

Corresponding author : Ravi Nunna