Cerebral vasculitis and ischaemic stroke in Behçet's disease: report of one case and review of the literature

Eur J Neurol. 2001 Nov;8(6):719-22. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-1331.2001.00300.x.


Introduction: Behçet's disease (BD) is a multisystemic, recurrent, inflammatory disorder. Neurological involvement is well-known but cerebral vasculitis and ischaemic stroke are unusual.

Case description: A 43-year-old male patient presented with acute left hemiparesis, he had recurrent oral aphthae and scrotal ulcerations. Two episodes of transient brainstem ischaemia and an episode of right hemiparesis were reported in the past 2 years. Cranial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging showed a right striatocapsular infarction and multiple segmental stenosis, fusiform enlargement and beading of the arteries of the polygone of Willis were seen on angiography. Cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) examination disclosed lymphocytic pleocytosis. Skin pathergy test was positive. A diagnosis of BD with cerebral vasculitis was made and immunosuppressive therapy was started. Some improvement of the arterial lesions on MR angiography and normalization of CSF were observed after 1 year of treatment.

Discussion: Low grade chronic meningo-encephalitis is the core neuropathological process in neuro-Behçet's disease. Nevertheless BD is a systemic disease known to cause vasculitis and can exceptionally lead to cerebral vasculitis and brain infarction. While BD is usually not part of the differential diagnosis of cerebral vasculitis, it should be borne in mind especially in endemic areas of the disease and in patients from these areas.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behcet Syndrome / complications*
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / etiology*