Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) in an HIV-1 infected patient with disseminated varicella zoster virus: a case report

BMC Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 2.56). 08/2013; 13(1):396. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-396
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is an uncommon pathology characterized by the acute onset of headache, vomiting, altered consciousness, seizures and focal neurological deficits. It was initially described in the setting of hypertension, uremia and immunosuppression. In the last decade there have been emerging reports of PRES in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infection in the presence of hypertension, dialysis, hypercalcaemia and two opportunistic infections: blastomycosis and tuberculosis (TB).
Here we present the case of a 54 year old male being treated for disseminated varicella zoster virus (VZV) and vasculopathy in the setting of HIV infection who acutely deteriorated to the point of requiring intubation. His clinicoradiological diagnosis was of PRES and he subsequently improved within 72 h with supportive management. Serial neuroimaging correlated with the clinical findings. The pathogenesis of PRES is poorly understood but is thought to stem from vasogenic oedema either as a result of loss of endothelial integrity and transudate of fluid across the blood--brain barrier, or secondary to vasospasm resulting in tissue oedema in the absence of infarction. How HIV infection impacts on this model is unclear. It is possible the HIV infection causes endothelial dysfunction and disruption of the blood--brain barrier that may be further exacerbated by infections in the central nervous system.
The phenomenon of PRES in advanced HIV is an important clinical entity for both physicians and critical care doctors to recognize firstly given its potential mortality but also because of its favourable prognosis and reversibility with supportive care and treatment of underlying causes.

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Available from: Sarah C Sasson, Feb 22, 2014
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