JOURNAL ARTICLE

Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome: a case of unusual diffusion-weighted MR images

A Benziada-Boudour, E Schmitt, S Kremer, S Foscolo, A-S Rivière, M Tisserand, A Boudour, S Bracard
Journal of Neuroradiology. Journal de Neuroradiologie 2009, 36 (2): 102-5
18835039
Posterior reversible encephalopathy (PRES) represents an uncommon entity related to multiple pathologies, the most common of which is hypertensive crisis. PRES is classically characterized as symmetrical parieto-occipital edema, but may affect other areas of the brain. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is important for differentiating between vasogenic and cytotoxic edema. We present here the case of a 43-year-old woman, known to suffer from arterial hypertension and severe renal failure, who developed PRES with restricted apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) in various cerebral areas, suggesting irreversible tissue damage. Nevertheless, follow-up cranial MRI revealed complete remission, indicating that restricted diffusion does not always lead to cell death in this pathology. The underlying pathophysiological mechanism is not well understood. Such reversibility of diffusion anomalies has already been reported with transient ischemia, vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage and epilepsy but, to our knowledge, never before in PRES.

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