Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome Complicating Traumatic Pancreatitis: A Pediatric Case Report

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We are reporting a case of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) developed in an unusual clinical scenario without the presence of the most described symptoms. PRES is a neurological and radiological syndrome described in many different clinical conditions. In children it has been mostly reported in association with hematological and renal disorders.

Our patient was a 15 years old boy, admitted to our intensive care unit for pancreatitis after blunt abdominal trauma.

During the stay in the intensive care unit, he underwent multiple abdominal surgical interventions for pancreatitis complications. He had a difficult management of analgesia and sedation, being often agitated with high arterial pressure, and he developed a bacterial peritonitis. After 29 days his neurological conditions abruptly worsened with neuroimaging findings consistent with PRES. His clinical conditions progressively improved after sedation and arterial pressure control.

He was discharged at home with complete resolution of the neurological and imaging signs 2 months later.

The pathophysiology of PRES is controversial and involves disordered autoregulation ascribable to hypertension and endothelial dysfunction. In this case both hypertension and endothelial activation, triggered by sepsis and pancreatitis, could represent the culprits of PRES onset. Even if there is no specific treatment for this condition, a diagnosis is mandatory to start antihypertensive and supportive treatment. We are therefore suggesting to consider PRES in the differential diagnosis of a neurological deterioration preceded by hypertension and/or septic state, even without other “typical” clinical features.

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