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16 November 2022 : Case report  Denmark

[In Press] Long-Term Retrograde Global Amnesia Following Minor Trauma

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Christina Stilling1EF, Balázs Pazdera1CD, Annette Bennedsgaard Jespersen2B, Tue Hartmann1BC, Andreas Halgreen Eiset ORCID logo13AEFG

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.937845

Am J Case Rep In Press; DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.937845  

Available online: 2022-11-16, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication. The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule


Retrograde amnesia has several causes and may be the core concern in several conditions. When acute, somatic, and neurologic causes are excluded, along with substance use, a consideration of psychiatric disease is imminent. Here, we present a case with amnesia, where diagnostics and treatment were challenging due to severe psychiatric symptoms and course of the disease.
After a minor trauma while driving an electric scooter, a 41-year-old man lost all memories of the past 20 years. The patient was raised in a refugee camp, where he experienced traumatic events, and later came to Denmark and established family and work life. He had 1 prior contact with the psychiatric ward. After the incident, the patient was brought to the emergency room. The patient could not recognize his wife or children and believed he was 21 years old and living with his mother in the refugee camp. A full somatic and neurological workup was performed and no somatic or organic cause could explain the retrograde amnesia. He developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychotic symptoms. Treatment consisted of a combination of psychoeducation, cognitive remediation, and medical treatment for psychotic symptoms and PTSD.
The diagnosis “prolonged delirium”, “PTSD”, and “dissociative amnesia” were considered. Psychiatric comorbidity and previous traumatic experiences might have contributed to the development of long-term amnesia, which eventually was considered to be dissociative. During 8 months, the patient slowly regained his memory. It is impossible to conclude with certainty whether the successful outcome was the result of psychological treatment, pharmacological treatment, the passing of time, or a mixture of these.

Keywords: Amnesia; Amnesia, Retrograde; Delirium; Psychological Trauma; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic


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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923