Putaminal involvement in Rasmussen encephalitis

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Abstract

Background

Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) is a rare devastating disease of childhood causing progressive neurological deficits and intractable seizures, typically affecting one hemisphere. Characteristic MRI features include progressive unihemispheric focal cortical atrophy and grey- or white-matter high-signal changes and basal ganglion involvement, particularly of the caudate nucleus.

Objective

To analyse the pattern of involvement of different brain structures in a series of patients with RE and to attempt clinical correlation.

Materials and methods

We reviewed the medical records and neuroimaging data of 12 patients diagnosed with RE satisfying the European Consensus Statement diagnostic criteria.

Results

The disease manifested as seizures in all patients and was refractory; epilepsia partialis continua was a notable feature (nine patients). Hemiparesis of varying grades was noted in all but one patient; none had extrapyramidal signs. Neuroimaging showed cortical involvement in the insular/periinsular regions in 11 patients. Caudate atrophy was noted in ten patients. Putaminal atrophy was seen in nine patients, six of whom had additional hyperintense signal changes.

Conclusions

Our study highlights frequent putaminal atrophy and signal changes in RE, which suggests a more extensive basal ganglion involvement than emphasized previously. Recognition of putaminal changes may be a useful additional tool in the radiological diagnosis of RE.

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