Vessel Wall MRI to Differentiate Between Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome and Central Nervous System Vasculitis: Preliminary Results

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Prospective differentiation between reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome and central nervous system vasculitis can be challenging. We hypothesized that high-resolution vessel wall MRI would demonstrate arterial wall enhancement in central nervous system vasculitis but not in reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.

Methods—

We identified all patients with multifocal segmental narrowing of large intracranial arteries who had high-resolution vessel wall MRI and follow-up angiography at our institute over a 4-year period and performed a detailed chart review.

Results—

Three patients lacked arterial wall enhancement, and these all had reversal of arterial narrowing within 3 months. Four patients demonstrated arterial wall enhancement, and these had persistent or progressive arterial narrowing at a median follow-up of 17 months (range, 6–36 months) with final diagnoses of central nervous system vasculitis (3) and cocaine vasculopathy (1).

Conclusions—

Preliminary results suggest that high-resolution contrast-enhanced vessel wall MRI may enable differentiation between reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome and central nervous system vasculitis.

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