Background and purpose: Intracranial haemorrhage in neurosarcoidosis (NS-ICH) is rare, poorly understood and the diagnosis of NS may not be immediately apparent.
Methods: The clinical features of three new NS-ICH cases are described including new neuropathological findings and collated with cases from a systematic literature review.
Cases: (i) A 41-year-old man with headaches, hypoandrogenism and encephalopathy developed a cerebellar haemorrhage. He had neuropathological confirmation of NS with biopsy-proven angiocentric granulomata and venous disruption. He responded to immunosuppressive therapy. (ii) A 41-year-old man with no history of hypertension was found unconscious. A subsequently fatal pontine haemorrhage was diagnosed. Liver biopsy revealed sarcoid granulomas. (iii) A 36-year-old man with raised intracranial pressure headaches presented with a seizure and a frontal haemorrhage. Hilar lymph node biopsy confirmed sarcoidosis, and he was treated successfully. Systematic review: Twelve other published cases were identified and collated with our cases. Average age was 36 years and M:F = 2.3:1; 46% presented with neurological symptoms and 31% had CNS-isolated disease. Immediate symptoms of ICH were acute/worsening headache or seizures (60%). ICH was supratentorial (62%), infratentorial (31%) or subarachnoid (7%). Forty percent had definite NS, 53% probable NS and 7% possible NS (Zajicek criteria). Antigranulomatous/immunosuppressive therapy regimens varied and 31% died.
Conclusions: This series expands our knowledge of the pathology of NS-ICH, which may be of arterial or venous origin. One-third have isolated NS. Clinicians should consider NS in young-onset ICH because early aggressive antigranulomatous therapy may improve outcome.
© 2012 The Author(s) European Journal of Neurology © 2012 EFNS.