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Misdiagnosis of Conversion Disorders

Teasell, Robert W. MD; Shapiro, Allan P. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: March 2002 - Volume 81 - Issue 3 - p 236-240
Case Series

Teasell RW, Shapiro AP: Misdiagnosis of conversion disorders. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2002;81:236–240.

Five cases are presented describing the clinical features for which they were referred and admitted to a rehabilitation unit and later identified as having been misdiagnosed as having a conversion disorder. The diagnoses were sarcoma-induced osteomalacia, cerebellar medulloblastoma, Huntington’s chorea, transverse myelitis, and lower extremity dystonia. A perceived history of psychological difficulties, an unusual neurologic presentation, and normal initial diagnostic testing in a female patient were associated with a misdiagnosis of conversion disorders; unfortunately, these factors also characterize actual conversion disorders.

From the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert Teasell, MD, 339 Windermere Road, London, Ontario N6A 5A5, Canada.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.