Clinical and Imaging Findings in Childhood Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome

Betul Kilic



Objectives: Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is characterized by typical radiologic findings in the posterior regions of the cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum. The symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, focal neurologic deficits and seizures.

Method and Results: We retrospectively examined 23 children with PRES. The most common precipitating factors were hypertension (78.2%) and medications, namely immunosuppressive and antineoplastic agents (60.8%). Manifestations included mental changes (100%), seizures (95.6%), headache (60.8%), and visual disturbances (21.7%) of mean 3.6 (range 1-10) days' duration. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed bilateral occipital lesions in all patients, associated in 82.6% with less typical distribution of lesions in frontal, temporal or parietal lobes, cerebellum, corpus callosum, basal ganglia, thalamus, and brain stem. Of these findings, frontal involvement was predominant, observed in 56.5% of patients. Clinical recovery was followed by radiologic resolution in all patients.

Conclusion:  PRES is often unsuspected by the clinician, thus radiologists may be the first to suggest this diagnosis on an MRI obtained for seizures or encephalopathy. Atypical MRI finding are seen quite often.  Rapid diagnosis and treatment is required to avoid a devastating outcome.


childhood; posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome; seizures; atypical radiological findings

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