There is no reliable test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). When a doctor suspects CJD, the first item of business is to exclude treatable forms of dementia such as encephalitis or chronic meningitis. A neurological exam will be performed. Standard diagnostic tests include a spinal tap and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
The only way to confirm a diagnosis of CJD is by brain biopsy or autopsy. In a brain biopsy, a neurosurgeon removes a small piece of tissue from the patient’s brain so that it can be examined by a neuropathologist. The procedure may be dangerous for the patient, and the operation does not always secure tissue from the affected part of the brain. Because a correct diagnosis of CJD does not help the person, a brain biopsy is discouraged unless it is needed to rule out a treatable disorder. In an autopsy, the whole brain is examined after death. Both the brain biopsy and autopsy pose a small, but definite risk, that the surgeon or others who handles the brain tissue may become accidentally infected by self-inoculation. Special surgical and disinfection procedures can minimize this risk. Novant Health d/b/a Forsyth Medical Center recently admitted that it did not follow certain procedures with respect to their handling of instruments used in a patient with suspected CJD. Consequently, 18 patients were potentially exposed to this fatal disease. Further links about CJD can be found here:
Links regarding CJD:
If you have potentially been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, contact the Law Office of Kevin J. Williams, PLLC, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at (336)793-8459 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options. You may also use the contact form to send Kevin an e-mail.