Aspergillosis of the central nervous system: Clinicopathological analysis of 17 patients

Thomas J. Walsh, Daniel B. Hier, Louis R. Caplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The clinical, laboratory, and pathological features of aspergillosis of the central nervous system (CNS) were studied in a series of 17 autopsied patients. Two groups were defined. Group A consisted of 8 patients with diseases commonly associated with CNS aspergillosis: leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia, and renal transplantation. Group B contained 9 patients with various illnesses not generally known to be associated with CNS aspergillosis. CNS aspergillosis was diagnosed and treated before death in only 1 patient. Patients in Group A received cytotoxic drugs, often had granulocytopenia, less commonly had focal neurological deficits, and seldom had seizures. Group B patients were not granulocytopenic, received no cytotoxic agents, underwent nontransplant surgery, and more frequently had focal neurological deficits. Eleven of the 17 patients (65%) had focal deficits, most of them hemiparesis. Meningeal signs were rare, but the cerebrospinal fluid was usually abnormal. The principal neuropathological process was Aspergillus invasion of blood vessels causing hemorrhagic infarction. Focal clinical deficits correlated neuroanatomically with Aspergillus lesions. In 2 patients, such lesions were detected by 99mTc‐DTPA or cerebral angiography before computed tomographic scanning. The lungs were the usual portal of entry, but isolated CNS lesions occurred in 2 patients. CNS aspergillosis should be considered as a cause of new onset of focal neurological deficits in patients with illnesses that are more diverse than has generally been appreciated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-582
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of neurology
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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