Strokes in Sneddon syndrome without antiphospholipid antibodies

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Sneddon syndrome (SS) is characterized by the association of a livedo reticularis with stroke. Clinicoradiological features of its neurological manifestations, its prognosis, and the frequency of associated cardiac valvulopathy remain poorly known, particularly in the absence of antiphospholipid antibodies (APL). The objectives were to assess the clinicoradiological pattern of SS without APL (SSAPL−) and its midterm prognosis.


Clinical data, transthoracic echocardiograms, and brain imaging of 53 consecutive patients (83% women) with SSAPL−, followed up at our institution between 1991 and 2011, were reviewed.


Seventy-four strokes were reported; 76% were ischemic strokes (IS), 15% transient ischemic attacks, and 9% hemorrhagic strokes. Heart valve lesions were found in 50% of the cases. Brain imaging showed 177 IS of 3 different types: large territorial (43%), small distal corticosubcortical (14%), and small deep (23%) IS. No significant association was found between the valve involvement and the presence of territorial IS. After a mean follow-up of 7.4 years, 82% of patients had a modified Rankin Scale score ≤ 2. The ischemic event recurrence rate was 20%, with a similar annual rate in the antiplatelet group (3%) compared to the anticoagulation group (2.7%).


SSAPL− is not only a neurocutaneous disorder, but is frequently associated with heart valve involvement. The latter does not influence the IS type, which suggests that strokes are caused by vasculopathy of the small and medium-size cerebral arteries. Our results show no progression toward a serious disability in the majority of the cases and a moderate recurrence rate under antiplatelet therapy. Ann Neurol 2015;77:817–829

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