Author(s): Lienert C, Sturzenegger M
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Abstract Cerebral vasculitis is a rare disease with a potentially harmful or even fatal outcome that often affects young adults. Primary autoimmune mediated disease can be distinguished from secondary vasculitis associated to infectious disorders, connective tissue diseases, malignancies or toxic drug effects. Pathomechanisms lead to destruction of the vessel wall and consecutive hemorrhagic or ischemic brain lesions. Beyond these mechanisms direct autoimmune mediated neurotoxicity is postulated. Clinical presentation is highly variable with potentially fluctuating signs and symptoms. Besides multifocal deficits from disseminated CNS involvement, diffuse encephalopathy or psychosis may result from diffuse CNS affection. For systemic vasculitis with CNS involvement, affection of joints, skin and organs may facilitate the diagnostic evaluation. CNS affection in systemic diseases is highly variable and may even precede systemic manifestation. The diagnostic work-up includes clinical evaluation, analysis of autoantibodies, MRI, digital subtraction angiography and biopsy of the affected tissue in doubtful cases. Standard therapy are corticosteroids often combined with immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, methotrexate or mycophenolate mofetil in chronic disease or cyclophosphamid in acute disorder. When therapy can be initiated timely, prognosis of cerebral vasculitis is usually favourable.
This article was published in Ther Umsch
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