Toxic leukoencephalopathies

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Jun;36(2):277-92. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.02.006. Epub 2013 Apr 12.


Leukoencephalopathy is a syndrome of neurologic deficits, including alteration of mental status, caused by pathologic changes in the cerebral white matter. The term, toxic leukoencephalopathy, encompasses a wide variety of exposures and clinical presentations. The diagnosis in these Frontiers in Clinical Neurotoxicology syndromes is made by careful attention to the history, clinical features, and radiologic findings. This article details three of the best-defined toxic leukoencephalopathies: delayed posthypoxic leukoencephalopathy, including delayed neurologic sequelae after carbon monoxide poisoning; heroin inhalation leukoencephalopathy; and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / complications
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Heroin / administration & dosage
  • Heroin / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Leukoencephalopathies / chemically induced
  • Leukoencephalopathies / complications
  • Leukoencephalopathies / diagnosis*
  • Leukoencephalopathies / therapy*
  • Neuroimaging
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography


  • Heroin