Background: The clinical manifestations of neurocysticercosis (NCC) are poorly understood. This systematic review aims to estimate the frequencies of different manifestations, complications and disabilities associated with NCC.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature published from January 1, 1990, to June 1, 2008, in 24 different electronic databases and 8 languages was conducted. Meta-analyses were conducted when appropriate.
Results: A total of 1569 documents were identified, and 21 included in the analysis. Among patients seen in neurology clinics, seizures/epilepsy were the most common manifestations (78.8%, 95%CI: 65.1%-89.7%) followed by headaches (37.9%, 95%CI: 23.3%-53.7%), focal deficits (16.0%, 95%CI: 9.7%-23.6%) and signs of increased intracranial pressure (11.7%, 95%CI: 6.0%-18.9%). All other manifestations occurred in less than 10% of symptomatic NCC patients. Only four studies reported on the mortality rate of NCC.
Conclusions: NCC is a pleomorphic disease linked to a range of manifestations. Although definitions of manifestations were very rarely provided, and varied from study to study, the proportion of NCC cases with seizures/epilepsy and the proportion of headaches were consistent across studies. These estimates are only applicable to patients who are ill enough to seek care in neurology clinics and likely over estimate the frequency of manifestations among all NCC cases.