MRI findings in the diagnosis and monitoring of Rasmussen's encephalitis

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2009 Sep;67(3B):792-7. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2009000500002.


Rasmussen's encephalitis is a devastating syndrome of multifocal brain dysfunction and focal seizures. Magnetic resonance (MR) findings, associated with clinical data and electroencephalogram (EEG), may indicate the diagnosis and could be an indicative of prognosis. We studied 5 patients with Rasmussen's encephalitis, assessing clinical history and MR images. All patients had refractory focal seizures with a predominant motor component associated with hemispheric atrophy, that was proportional to severity of disease and neurological deficits in these patients. Gray and white matter abnormal signal on T2 MR images were found in patients who had hemiparesis. It was not related to the duration of the disease but to aggressiveness. MR proton spectroscopy in severe disease showed lactate and choline increase and decreased NAA, reflecting neuronal and axonal loss, gliosis and elevated membrane turnover and recent - crisis (not controlled). MR studies, in addition to help in diagnosis, may be useful for monitoring metabolic changes and progression of disease in Rasmussen's encephalitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Encephalitis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Severity of Illness Index