Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) in a thirty-six-week gestation eclamptic

Emilie S Powell, Mitchell J Goldman
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2007, 33 (4): 377-9
Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a transient clinical neuroradiological entity characterized by clinical signs and symptoms including hypertension, generalized seizure activity, altered mental status, headache, and vision changes; along with characteristic findings on head computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan. Albeit a rare condition, PRES is most commonly reported in the literature in association with obstetric patients suffering from pre-eclampsia or eclampsia. In the acute setting, it is important to recognize the characteristics of PRES and immediately treat the inciting conditions: the patient's hypertension and seizures. Although this condition is usually transient and completely reversible, ischemic injury and irreversible damage have been reported. In the event of early and effective treatment, cognitive function may be completely restored. The following case report reviews a pregnant patient who presented to the Emergency Department with generalized seizure activity and a clinical picture characteristic of PRES. The case demonstrates how appropriate treatment in the acute setting allows complete restoration of cognitive function in the long term.

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