Brain biopsy in primary angiitis of the central nervous system

Neurology. 1999 Sep 11;53(4):858-60. doi: 10.1212/wnl.53.4.858.


To determine the yield of brain biopsy and the predictive value of clinical features and ancillary studies, we retrospectively analyzed hospital chart data from 61 consecutive patients suspected of having primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS). Biopsies disclosed PACNS in 22 (36%), alternative diagnoses in 24 (39%), and no diagnosis in 15 (25%). Clinical indicators and angiography were not useful predictors of PACNS. Brain biopsy should be the primary diagnostic tool in this setting because of the poor reliability of other indicators and because of the high yield of alternative diagnoses requiring different management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Vasculitis / pathology*