Angiographically defined primary angiitis of the CNS - Is it really benign? NEUROLOGY Woolfenden, A. R., Tong, D. C., Marks, M. P., Ali, A. O., Albers, G. W. 1998; 51 (1): 183-188


Primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS) is a diagnostically challenging disorder. In patients whose diagnosis is ascertained solely by cerebral angiography without histologic verification, a benign monophasic clinical course with favorable response to a brief course of immunosuppressive therapy is often reported.We performed a retrospective review of patients with PACNS seen at the Stanford Stroke Center.Patients were followed for a median of 27.5 months. Acute focal deficits (9 of 10) and headache (3 of 10) were the most frequent presenting symptoms. Significant recurrent neurologic symptoms occurred in 5 of 10 patients before the initiation of immunosuppressive treatment. Three of six patients had recurrent symptoms during prednisone therapy alone, whereas only one of seven patients had recurrent symptoms while receiving combination immunosuppressive therapy. None had recurrent stroke during immunosuppressive treatment. Dynamic arterial changes were seen in four of five patients who underwent follow-up angiography that often, but not always, correlated with disease activity.Patients with angiographically defined PACNS frequently did not have a benign outcome or monophasic course. Repeat angiography was useful in supporting the diagnosis of PACNS, but did not always correlate with disease activity. A prospective multicenter collaborative effort is required to better define the clinical course and optimal treatment of PACNS.

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