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Can HIV Cause Nerve Paralysis Anywhere in the Body?
Apr 25, 2002

I have been diagnosed with serratus anterior palsy, the paralysis of the serratus anterior muscle due to neuropathy of the long thoracic nerve. The result is a pronounced, accentuated displacement of the scapula (which is called "winging").

My neurologist cannot find a cause, as I never experienced any trauma to the area. It began when I rolled over in bed 4 months ago.

My doctors are at a loss on what to do about it. I'm scheduled for nerve conduction tests at a university medical center, but everyone expects that will only confirm that the nerve is dead.

I've been HIV+ for over 15 years and have taken most HIV drugs. Is it possible that the neuropathy is caused by the virus, or is a side effect of HIV medications?

Can anything be done to repair the damage or improve my situtation? There is no neurologist with HIV experience in my area. My doctors can't even give a proper diagnosis of the problem, let alone a prognosis.

Response from Dr. Henry

Isolated nerve damage can occur rarely in the setting of HIV infection. That would rarely be due to toxicity from antiretroviral therapy. I assume that you have undergone some form of scanning to look for some type of compression that could cause that isolated focal abnormality. I would ask if the neurologist at the university could pop his/her head in during the procedure and ask them about other testing options. It may also be worthwhile to talk to a good physical medicine doc regarding the condition and rehabilitation. KH

In Minnesota?
AIDS Wasting

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