Metabolic Stroke: A Novel Presentation in a Child with Succinic Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase Deficiency

Sangeetha Yoganathan, Gautham Arunachal, Lisa Kratz, Mugil Varman, Maya Thomas, Sniya Valsa Sudhakar, Samuel Philip Oommen, Sumita Danda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder of gamma-aminobutyric acid metabolism. Children with SSADH deficiency usually manifest with developmental delay, behavioral symptoms, language dysfunction, seizures, hypotonia, extrapyramidal symptoms, and ataxia. Diagnosis of SSADH deficiency is established by an abnormal urine organic acid pattern, including increased excretion of 4-hydroxybutyric acid and the identification of biallelic pathogenic variants in aldehyde dehydrogenase 5 family, member A 1 (ALDH5A1) gene. Here, we describe a 15-month-old girl with SSADH deficiency presenting with developmental delay, language deficits, and acute-onset right hemiparesis, following recovery from a diarrheal illness. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed hyperintense signal changes involving the left globus pallidus in T2-weighted images with restriction of diffusion in the diffusion-weighted images. Increased excretion of 4-hydroxybutyric acid, threo-4,5-dihydroxyhexanoic acid lactone and erythro-4,5-dihydroxyhexanoic acid lactone was detected by urine organic acid analysis and a diagnosis of SSADH deficiency was confirmed by the identification of homozygous pathogenic variant in ALDH5A1. Stroke mimic is a novel presentation in our patient with SSADH deficiency. She was initiated on treatment with vigabatrin and has shown developmental gains with the recovery of right hemiparesis. Follow-up neuroimaging shows near complete resolution of signal changes in the left globus pallidus, while there was subtle hyperintensity in the right globus pallidus. The phenotypic spectrum of SSADH deficiency is widely expanding, and this disorder should be considered in the differential diagnosis of children with metabolic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Indian Academy of Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • 4-hydroxybutyric acid
  • Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency
  • aldehyde dehydrogenase 5 family
  • member A1 gene
  • stroke mimic
  • vigabatrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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