Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder that was first described by the neuropathologist Julius Hallervorden and the neurologist Hugo Spatz in 1922 .
The active involvement of Hallervorden in euthanasia in Germany during World War II and the discovery of the defective gene (mutation in pantothenate kinase 2 gene, located on chromosome 20p13) removed the name "Hallervorden-Spatz disease" to PKAN (2,3). Prevalence is estimated at 1–3/1,000,000 . It has a variable phenotype that is mainly age-dependent. The classic form has early onset (usually before six years of age) and rapid progression. Children usually present with gait abnormalities, followed by severe dystonia, seizures, dysarthria, spasticity, retinopathy and learning disorders . Atypical PKAN (25% of cases) has a later onset and slower progression. Speech abnormality and psychiatric symptoms are more common in this form. Dyskinetic symptoms may be mild . PKAN has a characteristic brain MRI pattern called ‘’eye-of-the-tiger sign’’, which is a low signal intensity region surrounding a central high signal intensity region in the globus pallidus . Histopathologic findings reveal iron deposition in the globus pallidus and pars reticulata of the substantia nigra .
Oropharyngeal dystonia can lead to pulmonary aspiration, dynamic upper airway obstruction and breathing difficulty . Severe dystonia usually fails to respond to pharmacological therapy and intrathecal baclofen pump or stereotactic pallidotomy can be considered.
Patients requiring general anaesthesia with this syndrome may have many symptoms that influence the pre-anaesthetic management, the induction of anaesthesia and the postoperative care.