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J Neurosurg. 1996 Dec;85(6):1066-71.

Cerebral sparganosis: clinical manifestations, treatment, and outcome.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.


Cerebral sparganosis is a rare parasitic disease caused by infestation by the plerocercoid larva of Spirometra mansoni. The authors retrospectively analyzed 17 cases of cerebral sparganosis treated at Seoul National University Hospital between 1986 and 1994. The patients' ages at diagnosis ranged from 6 to 57 years (median 32 years) and the male/female ratio was 13:4. Diagnosis was based on radiological findings, serological test results, operative findings, and histopathological examinations. Characteristic magnetic resonance (MR) findings consisted of widespread white matter degeneration and cortical atrophy, mixed-signal lesion (low in the central and high in the peripheral regions on T2-weighted images) with irregular dense enhancement of central foci and changes in the location and shape of the enhancing lesion in follow-up studies. Ten patients underwent surgical removal of the parasitic lesion, six received medical treatment alone (five with praziquantel and one with antiepileptic drugs), and one underwent insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt and a course of praziquantel. Follow-up periods ranged from 13 to 111 months (mean 49 months). Seven patients who underwent complete removal of the lesion, live worm, or degenerative worm with surrounding granuloma showed a favorable course. Patients who received medical treatment alone or incomplete removal exhibited progression in their neurological deficits and their seizures could not be controlled. Medication with praziquantel seemed to have no killing effect on live worms. The authors conclude that MR imaging is the most valuable modality for the early detection of cerebral sparganosis and that complete surgical removal of granuloma together with worms, whether they are alive or degenerative, is the treatment of choice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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