AIDS-related CNS cryptococcosis: radiologic-pathologic correlation

V P Mathews, P L Alo, J D Glass, A J Kumar, J C McArthur
AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology 1992, 13 (5): 1477-86

PURPOSE: This study evaluates the effectiveness of cranial CT and MR in detecting autopsy findings of AIDS-related CNS cryptococcosis.

METHODS: Final imaging studies compared with pathology were CT in eight patients (five with contrast) and MR in five patients (all with Gd-DTPA).

RESULTS: Neither modality effectively identified cryptococcal meningitis. Punctate hyperintensities were seen in all patients with MR and corresponded pathologically to both perivascular spaces dilated by cryptococcal infection and cryptococcomas. Pathologically, cryptococcomas were more common than dilated perivascular spaces. MR detected more cryptococcomas than did CT, but both modalities underestimated the number of lesions seen at autopsy. Contrast enhancement of cryptococcomas and cryptococcal meningitis was uncommon.

CONCLUSIONS: CNS cryptococcosis was more effectively demonstrated by MR than by CT, but both modalities underestimated the pathologic extent of the disease. Cryptococcal lesion contrast enhancement was unusual possibly because of the immunocompromised state of our patients and the unique characteristics of the organism itself.

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