Clinical and radiological differences in posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome between patients with preeclampsia-eclampsia and other predisposing diseases

Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jul;19(7):935-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03629.x. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Background: Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a serious maternal complication in pregnancy, but data on the clinicoradiological differences to other etiologies of PRES are scarce. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinical and imaging characteristics of PRES in preeclampsia-eclampsia patients compared with other predisposing diseases in a large cohort.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the radiological report data bases between January 1999 and August 2010 for patients with PRES. Patients fulfilling the criteria for PRES after detailed investigation of clinical charts and imaging studies were separated into patients with eclampsia-preeclampsia and other predisposing causes. Various imaging features at onset of symptoms and on follow-up as well as clinical and paraclinical data were analyzed.

Results: A total of 24 patients with preeclampsia-eclampsia associated PRES and 72 patients with PRES of other predisposing causes were included into the study. In preeclampsia-eclampsia patients, headaches were significantly more frequent as initial PRES-related symptom (P < 0.001), whereas altered mental state was significantly less frequent (P = 0.001). Thalamus, midbrain, and pons affection was significantly less frequent in preeclampsia-eclampsia associated PRES (P = 0.01). Preeclampsia-eclampsia patients had significantly less severe edema, less cytotoxic edema, hemorrhage and contrast enhancement, while more frequent complete resolution of edema and less frequent residual structural lesions were seen on follow-up imaging.

Conclusion: In our PRES cohort, we found major clinicoradiological differences between preeclampsia-eclampsia and other predisposing causes pointing toward a less severe course of disease in preeclampsia-eclampsia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eclampsia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult