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Ann Neurol. 1996 Jul;40(1):8-17.

Cerebrovascular complications of Fabry's disease.

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Center for Stroke Research, Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Hospital and Health Science Center, Detroit, MI 48202-2689, USA.


Fabry's disease (FD) is a rare, sex-linked disorder resulting from alpha-galactosidase deficiency. Cerebrovascular complications have been reported in the literature but have not been systematically analyzed. We report 2 patients and review 51 previously reported cases (descriptive meta-analysis) to clarify the clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features. The average age at onset of cerebrovascular symptoms was 33.8 years for hemizygous individuals (n = 43) and 40.3 years of heterozygotes (n = 10). The most frequent symptoms and signs were as follows (in descending order of frequency): hemiparesis, vertigo/dizziness, diplopia, dysarthria, nystagmus, nausea/vomiting, head pain, hemiataxia, and ataxia of gait, in the hemizygote group; and memory loss, dizziness, ataxia, hemiparesis, loss of consciousness and hemisensory symptoms, in the heterozygote group. The vertebrobasilar circulation was symptomatic in 67% of the hemizygotes and 60% of the heterozygotes. Intracerebral hemorrhage was found in 4 patients (3 hemizygotes and 1 heterozygote). Elongated, ectatic, tortuous vertebral and basilar arteries were the most common angiographic and pathologic features. For the hemizygotes, the recurrence rate for cerebrovascular disease was 76% and the death rate was 55%; 86% of the heterozygotes had recurrent cerebrovascular event(s) and 40% died. The cerebrovascular manifestations of FD, in both hemizygotes and heterozygotes, are predominantly due to dilative arteriopathy of the vertebrobasilar circulation, frequently recur, and portend a poor prognosis.

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