0
Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

1
Letter   |    
A Possible Case of Peduncular Hallucinosis in a Patient with Parkinson’s Disease Successfully Treated With Quetiapine
David R. Spiegel; Brandy Lybeck; Victoria Angeles
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2009;21:225a-226.

To the Editor: Peduncular hallucinosis was first described by Lhermitt as odd visual hallucinations stemming from lesions affecting the midbrain, pons, and thalamus.1 We report on an elderly female with Parkinson’s disease who possibly exhibits this rare form of perceptual disturbance.

+

Case Report

Our patient is a 76-year-old Caucasian woman with a 3-year history of Parkinson’s disease, presenting with acute dyspnea which resulted in her hospitalization. She reported visual hallucinations of "mechanical bugs walking around the hospital" and "two people fighting" in the corner of her room. The visual hallucinations began 1 year prior to her hospitalization and were nondistressing. She had insight into the visual hallucinations. Our patient was treated with carbidopa--dopa until 4 months prior to admission. The patient’s mental status exam was notable for bradyphasia, psychomotor retardation, and limited range of affect. She had signs of a pill rolling tremor on her left hand. She was otherwise alert and oriented times 3 with no fluctuations in consciousness. She reports visual hallucinations in the absence of bizarre delusions or auditory hallucinations. Cognitive examination was notable for deficits in short-term recall (which improved with cues) and attention span.

An MRI scan of the brain revealed a hyper-intense focus adjacent to the right thalamus consistent with an old lacunar infarct. An EEG revealed no eliptiform discharges or significant slowing.

Our patient was treated with quetiapine for the visual hallucinations, with a noted decrease in the number of hallucinations for the remainder of the hospital stay.

+

Discussion

Visual hallucinations often suggest a wide range of etiologies. Hallucinations and delusions occur in up to 40% of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Visual hallucinations are typically associated as a side effect of dopamine agonists, such as carbidopa--dopa, in about 20% of Parkinson’s disease patients; however, our patient’s visual hallucinations persisted despite discontinuation of carbidopa--dopa.2 The differential diagnosis for visual hallucinations includes neurodegenerative dementias, such as Parkinson’s dementia, postictal states, intoxications/delirium tremens, migraine headache with aura, and narcolepsy.3

Peduncular hallucinosis is a rare form of visual hallucination characterized by intense, vividly colored, nonstereotypical visual images of people, animals, and plants that are nonthreatening to the patient. The exact mechanism for peduncular hallucinosis is unknown. One theory is that when "normal" afferent input is decreased, for example by diminished visual acuity, spontaneous cerebral activity of the visual system is disinhibited, resulting in visual hallucinations. However, given the rarity of such cases, it may be that cerebral pathology may render some elderly patients vulnerable to this disinhibited phenomena associated with pontine lesions.4 However, according to Cubo et al.,5 visual hallucinations are more likely to occur with more severe overall Parkinson’s symptoms and longer duration of Parkinson’s disease. Our patient only had Parkinson’s disease for 3 years and was only mildly impaired by the illness. Thus, based on clinical and radiographic findings, peduncular hallucinosis was considered in the differential diagnosis of our patient’s visual hallucinations. In closing, the emergence of new-onset visual hallucinations in the elderly warrants an MRI of the brain and, although rare, peduncular hallucinosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis, especially with brain stem or thalamic infarcts.

.
Leo RJ, Aherens KS: Visual hallucinations in mild dementia: a rare occurrence of Lhermitte’s hallucinosis. Psychosomatics 1999; 40:360—363
 
.
Cummings JL, Miller BL: Visual hallucinations: clinical occurrence and use in differential diagnosis. West J Med 1987; 146:46—51
 
.
Marsh L: Neuropsychiatric aspects of Parkinson’s disease. Psychosomatics 1999; 41:15—23
 
.
Feinberg WM, Rapcsak SZ: Peduncular hallucinosis following paramedian thalamic infarction. Neurology 1989; 39:1535—1536
 
.
Cubo E, González M, Aguilar A, et al: [Study of associated clinical variables and phenomenology of hallucinations in Parkinson’s.] Neurologia 2006; 21:12—18 (Spanish)
 
+

References

.
Leo RJ, Aherens KS: Visual hallucinations in mild dementia: a rare occurrence of Lhermitte’s hallucinosis. Psychosomatics 1999; 40:360—363
 
.
Cummings JL, Miller BL: Visual hallucinations: clinical occurrence and use in differential diagnosis. West J Med 1987; 146:46—51
 
.
Marsh L: Neuropsychiatric aspects of Parkinson’s disease. Psychosomatics 1999; 41:15—23
 
.
Feinberg WM, Rapcsak SZ: Peduncular hallucinosis following paramedian thalamic infarction. Neurology 1989; 39:1535—1536
 
.
Cubo E, González M, Aguilar A, et al: [Study of associated clinical variables and phenomenology of hallucinations in Parkinson’s.] Neurologia 2006; 21:12—18 (Spanish)
 
+
+

CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe



Related Content
Books
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 4.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 13.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 14.  >
DSM-5™ Clinical Cases > Chapter 17.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 14.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
APA Guidelines