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Acta Radiol. 2004 Feb;45(1):88-94.

Magnetic resonance imaging findings and outcome in severe tick-borne encephalitis. Report of four cases and review of the literature.

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Department of Radiology, Keski-Pohjanmaa Central Hospital, Kokkola, Finland.



To describe the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of four patients with proven tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). These are the most northern cases reported from Scandinavia. Experience of turbo fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) has not previously been published in this context.


The MRI findings of four consecutive patients with TBE treated in our hospital during the year 2002 were evaluated. MRI was done during the first week of illness, and follow-up scans were available in three cases.


In T2-weighted and turbo FLAIR images, thalamic hyperintensity was equally evident in three of the four patients. One of them also showed hyperintensity in the left putamen and the internal capsule and another patient in the peduncles and the hypothalamus. T1-weighted images without contrast were normal in all patients, and leptomeningeal enhancement was detected in only one patient. The two patients who underwent DW images did not show any restricted diffusion. Follow-up MR images showed no atrophy or necrotic foci, and the signal abnormalities disappeared during 16-34 weeks of follow-up.


T2-weighted and turbo FLAIR sequences proved equally effective in detecting and delineating the thalamic, brainstem, and basal ganglia pathologies. According to our results, mechanisms other than cytotoxic edema contribute to the signal pathology. Radiologists should be familiar with the MR findings of TBE even in non-endemic areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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