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Diagnostic MR imaging features of craniocerebral Aspergillosis of sino-nasal origin in immunocompetent patients

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Background. Craniocerebral invasive Aspergillosis of sino-nasal origin has been reported with a very high mortality due to a peculiarly fulminant clinical course. Early diagnosis based on clinical radiological imaging may have an impact on final clinical outcome. This retrospective study focuses on characteristic MR imaging features of Aspergillosis (of sinonasal origin) in immunocompetent patients.

Methods. Medical records of patients were reviewed retrospectively during the period from 1991 to 2003 in the two tertiary care hospitals. All the patients had radiological evidence of disease in the paranasal sinuses with or without intracranial extension. Immunocompetence of patients was assessed on clinical and radiological data. MRI scans (n = 20) were reviewed by both clinical neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists separately. MRI was done on 1.5 tesla scanners and both T2-weighted and T1 weighted sequences were obtained followed gadolinium enhanced images. Patients were categorized into three types based on their anatomical location on MRI scans; type-1 being intracerebral, type-2 as intracranial extradural and type-3 invading orbit and/or skull base only. All these patient had the epicenter of disease in the nose and/or paranasal sinuses as evident on MR imaging. All patients underwent standard surgical intervention followed by antifungal therapy. Clinical outcome was assessed on Glasgow outcome scale with mean duration of clinical follow up of 13.9 months.

Findings. Mean age of patents (n = 20) was 31.1 years with male preponderance (3:1). MRI scans showed evidence of disease in paranasal sinuses including mucosal thickening (n = 11) and complete filling of sinuses (n = 9). T2-weighted images showed extremely hypo-intense fungal mass (n = 19) while T1-weighted images had iso-intense signals (n = 18). Gadolinium-enhanced images showed bright homogenous contrast enhancement (n = 18) and peripheral ring enhancement pattern (n = 2). All patients underwent appropriated surgical procedures depending upon anatomical location followed by standard antifungal therapy. Tissue diagnoses were established by histopathology (n = 20) and culture growth (n = 5). Overall mortality remained 15 percent.

Interpretaion. Craniocerebral Aspergillosis of sinonasal origin has typical MR imaging features. These features include a mass lesion producing hypo-to-iso-intense signals on T1-weighted, extremely low signals (hypo-intense) on T2-weighted images, with bright homogenous enhancement on post-gadolinium T1-weighted imaging. These features in the clinical background may be helpful in early diagnosis and management of Aspergillosis of sino-nasal origin in immunocompetent hosts. Prospective clinical study is required to make firm clinical therapeutic recommendations.

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Siddiqui, A., Bashir, S., Ali Shah, A. et al. Diagnostic MR imaging features of craniocerebral Aspergillosis of sino-nasal origin in immunocompetent patients. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 148, 155–166 (2006).

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