Background: Neurological complications may be present clinically in up to 39% of patients infected with HIV or AIDS. Some reports have shown different profiles of neurological illness related to geographic variations and the population studied.
Methods: This retrospective study describes the neurological manifestations of patients with AIDS seen between 1990 and 1998 at a single neurological referral hospital in Mexico City.
Results: One hundred forty-nine patients were included, 133 males (89%) and 16 females (10.7%). The average age was 33.8 years (9 to 75 years). Upon admission, only 50 patients (33.6%) were known to be seropositive to HIV-1. In 75 patients (50.3%), the neurological illness was definitory of AIDS and also was its first recognized clinical manifestation. The most common infection problems were brain toxoplasmosis (32.2%), meningeal cryptococcosis (21.5%), tuberculosis (8.7%), and AIDS-dementia complex (8.7%). There were eight (5.4%) cases of ischemic cerebrovascular disease and four (2. 7%) neoplasms. Two primary brain lymphomas and single cases of astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), aseptic meningitis, acute encephalitis, transverse myelitis, myopathy, and cranial neuropathy were also seen.
Conclusion: In comparison with other studies of neurological complications of AIDS, opportunistic infections amenable to treatment in our population were more common. A high case fatality rate was observed, as was a large proportion of patients in whom the neurological illness was the first manifestation of HIV infection or AIDS due to denied, unknown, or unrecognized risk factors for HIV infection.