Neurocritical Care

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 81–83 | Cite as

Posterior Reversible Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome Presenting with Global Cerebral Edema and Herniation

  • Vivien H. Lee
  • Richard E. Temes
  • Sayona John
  • James J. Conners
  • Thomas Bleck
  • Shyam Prabhakaran
Practical Pearl

Abstract

Background

We report a case of global cerebral edema and herniation due to Posterior Reversible Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (PRES).

Methods

Case report.

Results

A 37-year-old healthy female developed persistent severe occipital headache, and after 1 month of persistent headache, developed an episode of loss of consciousness.  CT brain showed diffuse cerebral edema and effacement of the sulci and basal cisterns. Her initial neurological examination was nonfocal but with severe headache. Overnight, she acutely became unresponsive with fixed dilated pupils, tachycardia, and hypertension.  She was intubated and treated with hypertonic saline and mannitol with improvement in her clinical status. Intracranial Pressure (ICP) monitor showed elevated ICPs to 37 mmHg which responded to mannitol. MRI brain showed diffuse vasogenic edema predominantly in the white matter without enhancement. Cerebral angiogram was unremarkable. Cerebrospinal fluid including infectious work-up was negative.  With supportive care, her mental status improved. On her 3 month follow-up visit, she was asymptomatic and had returned to work. Repeat MRI brain at 3 months showed persistent white matter changes that subsequently resolved at 9 months. 

Conclusions

Although PRES is typically considered to have a benign clinical course, clinician should be aware that severe cases can present with global cerebral edema and associated complications including intracranial hypertension and herniation. 

Keywords

Posterior Reversible Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome Global cerebral edema Herniation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivien H. Lee
    • 1
  • Richard E. Temes
    • 1
  • Sayona John
    • 1
  • James J. Conners
    • 1
  • Thomas Bleck
    • 1
  • Shyam Prabhakaran
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurological Sciences, Section of Stroke and Neurocritical CareRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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