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Isolated central nervous system vasculitis associated with hepatitis C infection.

Dawson TM, Starkebaum G. Isolated central nervous system vasculitis associated with hepatitis C infection. The Journal of rheumatology. 1999 Oct 1; 26(10):2273-6.

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Since its identification in 1989, hepatitis C has been implicated in the pathogenesis of an increasing number of diseases previously believed to be primary or idiopathic. We report 2 rarely seen cases of isolated central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis in patients with hepatitis C infection. Patient 1. A 43-year-old man with 4 day right temporal headache developed a left hemiparesis. Weakness was his only physical finding. Computed tomography (CT) scan demonstrated a large right frontotemporal hemorrhage, and angiography revealed focal dilatations and irregularities of multiple branches of the right middle and anterior cerebral arteries. Cerebral decompression was performed and leptomeningeal biopsies showed granulomatous angiitis. Laboratory results were normal except for elevated liver biochemical tests. Later testing for hepatitis C was positive. His neurological symptoms improved with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide. Patient 2. A 39 yr old male developed 3 days of left sided weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing fluids. Physical findings were limited to his weakness. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a right superior pontine subacute infarct with a small left internal capsule lacunar infarct. Angiography revealed multiple areas of focal narrowing with no areas of abrupt vessel cut off. Cerebral spinal fluid showed 71 PMN, 29 RBC, normal glucose, elevated protein (64 mg/dl), no oligoclonal bands, and low myelin basic protein. Other laboratory analyses were normal including liver biochemical tests. However, hepatitis C serology was positive and mixed cryoglobulins were detected. CNS vasculitis was diagnosed and nearly full recovery was achieved with corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide and warfarin.

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