Author(s): Balansard B, Bodaghi B, Cassoux N, Fardeau C, Romand S,
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Abstract AIM: To determine an aetiological diagnosis in patients presenting with necrotising retinopathies that simulate acute retinal necrosis (ARN). METHODS: Retrospective non-comparative case series. The charts of 16 patients presenting with a clinical impression of ARN at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Paris, France, between 1994 and 1999, who required initial antiviral therapy were reviewed. All of the patients had extensive laboratory tests. Anterior chamber paracentesis was performed on 14 patients and evaluated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or the Witmer-Goldmann coefficient to determine the cause of retinitis. Three of the 14 cases also had diagnostic vitrectomy. Responses to specific treatment, initiated based on laboratory results, and the final outcome were evaluated. RESULTS: Seven of the 16 patients were female and nine were male. The retinitis was bilateral in five patients and unilateral in 11 patients. The average age of the patients at presentation was 53.6 years. 13 patients were immune deficient for various reasons. Upon initial presentation, the patients' visual acuities were less than 20/200 in 68\% of the affected eyes. The final diagnoses, based on laboratory data and therapeutic response were toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis (62.5\%), syphilitic retinitis (12.5\%), aspergillus endophthalmitis (12.5\%), Behcet's disease (6.2\%), and intraocular lymphoma (6.2\%). Visual acuity was stabilised or improved in 12 patients (75\%). Two patients with aspergillosis died despite antifungal therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis is the major cause of retinal necrosis that simulates ARN, and PCR analysis of the aqueous humour is helpful in establishing the diagnosis. Such atypical toxoplasma retinochoroiditis may be associated with poor visual outcome.
This article was published in Br J Ophthalmol
and referenced in Journal of Vasculitis