BACKGROUND: Neurological deterioration in eclampsia is considered to be secondary to cerebral vasospasm. Magnesium sulfate therapy improves symptoms and controls seizures, possibly related to its vasorelaxive effects in spastic arteries. Some cases, however, are refractory to magnesium therapy. To our knowledge, there is no report of angioplasty for vasospasm from eclampsia in the literature. METHODS: A 27-year-old woman presented 10 days postpartum with severe mental status changes and left arm and bilateral leg weakness that were refractory to magnesium therapy. Cerebral angiography demonstrated diffuse, severe vasospasm. We treated her with angioplasty of the bilateral middle and posterior cerebral arteries, basilar artery, and bilateral internal carotid arteries. RESULTS: Angioplasty resulted in excellent angiographic improvement. The patient immediately became responsive and appropriate with improved strength in all extremities. She continued to improve throughout her hospital stay and was discharged 10 days postangioplasty. CONCLUSIONS: Cerebral angioplasty is an effective treatment for vasospasm from eclampsia refractory to magnesium therapy. Angiography should be considered early in the course of neurological deterioration, but delayed therapy may also be effective.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Paul H. Dressel for preparation of the illustrations. This department receives research support from Cordis Endovascular and Guidant Corporation.