Concomitant Acute Toxic Leukoencephalopathy and Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome

Can Özütemiz, Sarah Khanipour Roshan, Neil Joseph Kroll, Jeffrey B. Rykken, Frederick Ott, Alexander M. McKinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) and acute toxic leukoencephalopathy (ATL) are both potentially reversible clinicoradiologic entities. Although their magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings differ, rarely both may occur simultaneously in acutely encephalopathic patients. Our aim was to determine the incidence and causes of concomitant “ATL-PRES.”. METHODS: Retrospective search of suspected acutely encephalopathic adults since 1998 throughout our picture archiving and communication system revealed 167 patients with PRES and 106 patients with ATL. Images of these patients were retrospectively evaluated by two neuroradiologists and a fellow to identify the cases which carry both features of PRES and ATL. Imaging findings were scored based on previously reported scoring system as mild, moderate, and severe. The clinical outcome of the patients was determined according to the modified Rankin scale. RESULTS: Our search revealed a series of 6 patients (%2.2) in 273 patients who presented acutely with either encephalopathy or seizures, caused by various etiologies, including immunosuppression following transplantation (n = 2), hypertensive crisis (n = 2), chemotherapy (n = 1), and sepsis (n = 1). MRI demonstrated findings consistent with both PRES and ATL simultaneously on FLAIR and diffusion weighted imaging. Severity of imaging findings of concomitant “ATL-PRES” was concordant with each other (rho ≈ 1.0, P <.00001), and each patient eventually returned to clinical baseline. This finding, along with their similar etiologies, raises the possibility of an underlying common pathophysiologic thread, perhaps being endothelial toxicity. CONCLUSIONS: Concomitant “ATL-PRES” was found in 2.2% of the patients in a large cohort of ATL and PRES. Etiologies varied. Clinical symptoms and MRI findings were potentially reversible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-541
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the American Society of Neuroimaging


  • FLAIR imaging
  • MRI
  • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome
  • acute toxic leukoencephalopathy
  • diffusion imaging


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