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May 25, 1994

Night Sweats: Two Other Causes

Author Affiliations

Western Health Services, PC Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1994;271(20):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440037026

To the Editor.  —Although it is rarely seen by generalists, posttraumatic spinal cord syrinx should be mentioned as an additional cause of apparent night sweats to round out the possibilities mentioned by Smetana.1A young man with a spinal cord injury was referred to our physiatry practice after an extensive, unrevealing workup by an infectious disease specialist. The night sweats turned out, on further questioning, to be positional, and the tentative diagnosis of syrinx was made. Magnetic resonance imaging scans confirmed an extensive cavity, not unexpected years after injury. Infections are common in patients with spinal cord injuries, but as Smetana notes, a careful description of the night sweats can be critical to an appropriate evaluation.

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