Chronic neuropathic intestinal pseudoobstruction is a rare entity, characterized by recurrent episodes of bowel obstruction without a mechanical obstructive cause. We report five members of two Jewish-Iranian families in whom chronic neuropathic intestinal pseudoobstruction was associated with an identical and Unique progressive severe neuronal disease. It appeared within the first two decades of life. The disease consisted of external ophthalmoplegia, ptosis, and severe sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy. Three patients also had neuronal hearing loss. There was no evidence of central nervous system involvement and all patients were mentally intact. The combined disease was confirmed by radiologic, electrophysiologic, and histologic studies. Specific nutritional deficiencies, toxic elements, and systemic diseases affecting both the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system were ruled out. It seems that these patients suffer from an autosomal recessive, presently unrecognized variant, of chronic neuropathic intestinal pseudoobstruction. In a patient with severe peripheral neuropathy of unknown etiology associated with symptoms suggestive of intestinal obstruction, the possibility of chronic neuropathic intestinal pseudoobstruction has to be considered.
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