Author(s): ML Ishimori, BD Pressman, DJ Wallace, MH Weisman
A variety of neuropsychiatric findings may complicate systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and pose diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas. We describe the clinical and radiographic features of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) and distinguish PRES from other conditions seen in SLE. Patient charts and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of four patients with SLE on immunosuppressive therapy with acute or subacute neurologic changes initially suggesting cerebritis or stroke were reviewed. The English language literature was reviewed using the Medline databases from 1996—2006 for other reports of PRES with SLE. Literature review yielded 26 other SLE cases reported with PRES. SLE patients with PRES were more commonly on immunosuppressive drugs, had episodes of relative hypertension, and had renal involvement. Characteristic findings are seen on MRI, which differentiate PRES from other CNS complications of SLE. Clinical and radiographic resolution of abnormalities within 1—4 weeks is typically seen. PRES has been increasingly recognized. Reversible changes are found on brain MRI accompanied by sometimes dramatic signs and symptoms. The therapeutic implications for separating PRES from stroke or cerebritis are important. We propose that PRES should be considered in the differential diagnosis in SLE patients with new-onset neurologic signs and symptoms.