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Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2013 Nov;115(11):2351-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2013.08.014. Epub 2013 Sep 7.

Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome identification of prognostic factors.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Neurosurgery Unit, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:



Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) is described as a clinical and radiological entity characterized by thunderclap headaches, a reversible segmental or multifocal vasoconstriction of cerebral arteries with or without focal neurological deficits or seizures. The purpose of this study is to determine risk factors of poor outcome in patients presented a RCVS.


A retrospective multi-center review of invasive and non-invasive neurovascular imaging between January 2006 and January 2011 has identified 10 patients with criterion of reversible segmental vasoconstriction syndrome. Demographics data, vascular risks and evolution of each of these patients were analyzed.


Seven of the ten patients were females with a mean age of 46 years. In four patients, we did not found any causative factors. Two cases presented RCVS in post-partum period between their first and their third week after delivery. The other three cases were drug-induced RCVS, mainly vaso-active drugs. Cannabis was found as the causative factor in two patient, Sumatriptan identified in one patient while cyclosporine was the causative agent in also one patient. The mean duration of clinical follow-up was 10.2 months (range: 0-28 months). Two patients had neurological sequelae: one patient kept a dysphasia and the other had a homonymous lateral hemianopia. We could not find any significant difference of the evolution between secondary RCVS and idiopathic RCVS. The only two factors, which could be correlated to the clinical outcome were the neurological status at admission and the presence of intraparenchymal abnormalities (ischemic stroke, hematoma) in brain imaging.


Fulminant vasoconstriction resulting in progressive symptoms or death has been reported in exceptional frequency. Physicians had to remember that such evolution could happen and predict them by identifying all factors of poor prognosis (neurological status at admission, the presence of intraparenchymal abnormalities).


AVM; Angiopathy; CSF; CT; CTA; Call-Fleming syndrome; DSA; HLH; MRA; MRI; RCVS; SAH; Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Vasculitis; Vasospasm; arteriovenous malformation; cerebrospinal fluid; computerized tomographic angiography; computerized tomography; digital subtraction angiography; homonymous lateral hemianopia; mRS; magnetic resonance angiography; magnetic resonance imaging; modified Rankin score; reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome; subarachnoïd hemorrhage

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