Background: Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. The involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) in paracoccidioidomycosis is higher than previously thought and 2 clinical presentations have been reported, meningitis and pseudotumoral.
Methods: Twenty medical records of patients with CNS paracoccidioidomycosis treated from 1986 to 2003 were analyzed. The follow-up ranged from 1 to 18 years (mean = 8.9 +/- 4.2).
Results: Besides CNS paracoccidioidomycosis, all patients but one had the chronic systemic form and the pseudotumoral clinical presentation was the most frequent. Based on computed tomography scan findings, 4 image patterns were identified: low-density lesion with ring enhancement, lesion with calcification and ring enhancement, multiloculated low-density lesion with ring enhancement, and diffuse subarachnoid enhancement. The magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 3 patients and showed subarachnoid enhancement in 1 patient and heterogeneous lesion with ring enhancement in 2 patients. Eleven patients were submitted to medical treatment and 9 needed neurosurgical treatment; ventriculoperitoneal shunts in 4 patients, brain lesions resection in 3 patients, and partial resection of spinal cord lesions in 2 patients. Eleven patients had excellent outcome, 4 patients died, 3 are in good clinical condition with residual pulmonary dysfunction, and 1 patient was lost to follow-up.
Conclusions: The diagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis with involvement of the CNS is difficult and clinical suspicion is a key point to achieve the correct diagnosis. Patients with early diagnosis have a favorable outcome with clinical or surgical treatment.