Susac syndrome: Clinical characteristics and treatment in 29 new cases

F. J. Mateen, A. Y. Zubkov, R. Muralidharan, J. E. Fugate, F. J. Rodriguez, J. L. Winters, G. W. Petty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: There are few clinical studies on the attempted treatments and outcomes in patients with Susac syndrome (SS) (retinocochleocerebral vasculopathy). Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients presenting with SS at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA (1 January 1998-1 October 2011). Results: There were 29 cases of SS (24 women, mean age at presentation, 35years; range, 19-65; full triad of brain, eye, and ear involvement, n=16; mean follow-up time, 29months). Thirty CSF analyses were performed in 27 cases (mean protein 130mg/dl, range 35-268; mean cell count 14, range 1-86). MRI of the brain showed corpus callosal involvement (79%), T2-weighted hyperintensities (93%), and gadolinium enhancement (50%). Average lowest modified Rankin Scale score was 2.5 (median 2, range 0-5). Most patients (93%) received immunosuppressive treatment, with a mean time to treatment of 2months following symptomatic onset. Treatments included intravenous methylprednisolone or dexamethasone (n=23), oral corticosteroids (n=24), plasma exchange (PLEX) (n=9), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) (n=15), cyclophosphamide (n=6), mycophenolate mofetil (n=5), azathioprine (n=2), and rituximab (n=1). Most patients also received an antiplatelet agent (n=21). Improvement or stabilization was noted in eight of 11 cases treated with IVIg in the acute period (three experienced at least partial deterioration) and eight of nine cases of PLEX treatment (one lost to follow up). Conclusions: Susac syndrome may be severe, disabling, and protracted in some patients. PLEX may be an adjunct or alternative therapy for patients who do not experience symptomatic improvement following steroid treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-811
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Cochlea
  • Encephalopathy
  • Plasma exchange
  • Retina
  • Stroke
  • Susac syndrome
  • Treatment
  • Vasculopathy
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Susac syndrome: Clinical characteristics and treatment in 29 new cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this