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Mayo Clinic clarifies diagnosis for serious blood vessel disease of brain and spinal cord
Date:10/18/2007

rries a high potential for serious complications, even death. A blood vessel that malfunctions may disrupt blood supply and oxygen to the brain or spinal cord, leading to a stroke.

While angiography has been the preferred diagnostic technique because it is less invasive and carries fewer risks than brain biopsy, no studies had determined its accuracy or established angiographic criteria for the diagnosis. Progress in understanding PCNSV has been slow because its occurrence is infrequent and its identification is difficult, explains Robert D. Brown Jr., M.D., chair of the Mayo Clinic Department of Neurology, and the lead investigator. Our study begins to answer some essential questions that can clarify diagnosis and hopefully lead to earlier, and successful, management.

Symptoms and Treatment

Patients with PCNVS in the Mayo Clinic study had the following symptoms: headache was the most common, followed by changes in ability to think or remember (cognitive impairment); weakness on one side of the body; and difficulty speaking (aphasia). Of the 101 patients, 97 were prescribed initial treatment consisting of oral or intravenous doses of the steroid drug prednisone; some received oral or intravenous doses of the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. Most showed favorable responses. This encouraging finding emphasizes the need for early diagnosis and initiation of therapy that may help avoid serious and irreversible complications, says Dr. Brown.

Key Findings

Some the studys main findings:

  • Angiography imaging of blood vessels appears to complement brain biopsy in determining diagnosis.

  • PCNSV is not a single disease, but a variable syndrome that appears to consist of several distinct subsets of different diseases.

  • Though treatment is available and most patients responded to therapy, relapse was common, occurring in 25 percent of patients studied.

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Contact: Carol Lammers
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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