Varicella zoster vasculopathy

J Int Assoc Physicians AIDS Care (Chic). 2011 May-Jun;10(3):144-5. doi: 10.1177/1545109710397366. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Varicella-zoster virus can cause neurological disease in primary and reactivated latent forms, with a wide spectrum of disorders throughout a person's lifetime. 35-year-old male with AIDS; histoplasmosis; mild, intermittent asthma; and hypertension presented to hospital with left-sided weakness and slurred speech. Exam showed left hemiparesis with left upper motor neurons facial palsy and dysarthria. Acute right basal ganglia infarct was detected in head CT without contrast. A subsequent MRI showed acute non-hemorrhagic infarct, right basal ganglia; fusiform dilatation, and proximal right middle cerebral artery. A CT angiogram of the bilateral carotid arteries revealed occlusion of the right anterior cerebral artery with conical dilatation at the origin; significant stenosis, and dilatation of the right middle cerebral artery. These findings were consistent with vasculitis. Patient was successfully treated with IV acyclovir. Rapid diagnosis of VZV vasculopathy is important because it is a treatable cause of stroke. Mortality rate is 25% without treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir
  • Chickenpox*
  • Herpes Zoster*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging


  • Acyclovir