Herpes zoster ophthalmicus and delayed contralateral hemiparesis caused by cerebral angiitis: diagnosis and management approaches

Ann Neurol. 1983 Nov;14(5):543-53. doi: 10.1002/ana.410140509.


Four patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus and delayed contralateral hemiparesis are described, and their findings are compared with those in patients previously reported in the English language literature. The current patients evidenced multifocal ipsilateral cerebral angiitis by angiography and multifocal infarcts in the distribution of the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery by computed tomographic scanning. Cerebrospinal fluid showed mononuclear pleocytosis, positive oligoclonal bands, and an elevated immunoglobulin G index. Two patients were treated with corticosteroids and acyclovir, and 1 with corticosteroids alone, all without apparent response. Necrotizing angiitis ipsilateral to the herpes zoster ophthalmicus was demonstrated postmortem in 1 patient with multifocal cerebral infarction and progressive leukoencephalopathy. Neither herpes varicella zoster immunocytochemical reactivity nor viral inclusions were seen. The leukoencephalopathy associated with herpes varicella zoster either may be caused by cerebral angiitis or, as previously reported, may be a temporally remote manifestation of persistent herpes varicella zoster infection. The cerebral angiitis associated with herpes varicella zoster is histologically similar to granulomatous angiitis, and both may be related to herpes varicella zoster infection of the cerebral vasculature.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Arterial Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Arterial Diseases / pathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Dominance, Cerebral* / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / diagnosis*
  • Hemiplegia / pathology
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / diagnosis*
  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis*
  • Vasculitis / pathology


  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisone
  • Acyclovir