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Neurology. 1996 Jan;46(1):242-6.

Plasmapheresis in Rasmussen's encephalitis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Duke university Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Rasmussen's encephalitis (RE) is a progressive childhood disorder characterized by intractable focal seizures, hemiplegia, dementia, and inflammatory histopathology. The process is typically limited to one cerebral hemisphere. We report four patients with pathologically confirmed RE who were treated with repeated plasmapheresis. Three patients exhibited repeated, dramatic, transient responses to plasmapheresis, manifested by reduced seizure frequency and improved neurologic function. One patient exhibited marginal improvement after treatment with plasmapheresis. These observations indicate that circulating factors, likely autoantibodies, are pathogenic in at least some patients with RE and suggest that RE is an autoimmune disease. Plasmapheresis may be a useful adjunctive therapy in status epilepticus, and can also aid in assessment of residual function in the diseased hemisphere before surgical resection.

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