, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 623–630 | Cite as

MRI and associated clinical characteristics of EV71-induced brainstem encephalitis in children with hand–foot–mouth disease

  • Hongwu Zeng
  • Feiqiu Wen
  • Yungen Gan
  • Wenxian Huang
Paediatric Neuroradiology



This study was conducted to investigate MRI and associated clinical characteristics of brainstem encephalitis induced by enterovirus 71 (EV71) in children with hand–foot–mouth disease (HFMD).


We analyzed clinical and imaging data from 42 HFMD cases with EV71-induced brainstem encephalitis. All patients underwent plain and enhanced MRI cranial scans and were placed into one of two groups according to MRI enhancement results, an enhanced group or a nonenhanced group.


Thirty-two cases were positive on MRI exam. The primary location of the lesion for brainstem encephalitis was the dorsal pons and medulla oblongata (32 cases), followed by the cerebellar dentate nucleus (8 cases), midbrain (5 cases), and thalamus (2 cases). Plain T1-weighted images showed isointense or hypointense signals, and T2-weighted images showed isointense and hyperintense signals. Enhanced MRI scans showed that 12 cases had slight to moderate enhancement; 4 of these were normal on plain scan. The time from MRI examination to disease onset was statistically different between the enhanced (n = 12) and nonenhanced (n = 21) groups with a mean of 7.67 days (SD = 1.07) vs 11.95 days (SD = 5.33), respectively. The most common neurological symptoms for brainstem encephalitis were myoclonus and tremor. The greater the area of affected brain, the more severe the clinical symptoms were.


The locations of EV71-induced HFMD-associated brainstem encephalitis lesions are relatively specific. Enhanced MRI scans could also identify the lesions missed by early plain scans. MRI scans can provide important information for clinical evaluation and treatment.


Enterovirus 71 Hand–foot–mouth disease (HFMD) Brainstem encephalitis Children 


Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongwu Zeng
    • 1
  • Feiqiu Wen
    • 2
  • Yungen Gan
    • 1
  • Wenxian Huang
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyShenzhen Children’s HospitalShenzhenChina
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyShenzhen Children’s HospitalShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Department of RespiratoryShenzhen Children’s HospitalShenzhenChina

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