Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is often performed for differential diagnosis, but only a few reports on the morphologic changes in TBE patients and their relation to the disease severity exist. Methods: We retrospectively searched for all TBE patients who were admitted to the Departments of Neurology of the Medical University of Graz (Austria) and the Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg (Austria) between 2003 and 2014. We recorded the clinical and demographic variables and rated overall disease severity as mild, moderate, severe or leading to death due to TBE. MRI scans were screened for morphologic abnormalities. Results: Of an initial cohort of 88 patients with TBE, 45 patients with an available MRI of the brain were included in this study (median age 58.0 years, range: 18-80; men n = 28). Their median time spent in the hospital was 18 days (range: 4-174 days). 16 patients had a mild, 18 a moderate and 10 a severe disease course. One patient died due to TBE. TBE related brain abnormalities could be identified in 4 cases. They consisted of diffuse areas of T2-signal hyperintensity, which were located in the crura cerebri in three patients and in the right centrum semiovale in one patient. No contrast enhancement was observed in any of the lesions and their presence was not related to specific clinical findings or the severity of TBE. Conclusion: MRI brain lesions in TBE are rare and do not correlate with the course of the disease. Diffuse areas of signal hyperintensity in the crura cerebri appear suggestive of TBE. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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