Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PURPOSE: Inflammatory stenoses of cerebral arteries cause stroke in patients with florid vasculitis. However, diagnosis is often difficult even with digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and biopsy. The purpose of this study was to establish the value of contrast-enhanced MRI, proven to be sensitive to extradural arteritis, for the identification of intracranial vessel wall inflammation. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven patients with a diagnosis of cerebral vasculitis affecting large brain vessels were retrieved from the files: 8 children (2-10 years, 7 female, 1 male) and 19 adults (16-76 years, 10 female, 9 male). Diagnosis was based on histological or serological proof of vasculitis or on clinical and imaging criteria. All MRI examinations included diffusion-weighted imaging, time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (TOF-MRA) and contrast-enhanced scans. MRI scans were assessed for the presence of ischemic brain lesions, arterial stenoses, vessel wall thickening and contrast uptake. RESULTS: Ischemic changes of the brain tissue were seen in 24/27 patients and restricted diffusion suggestive of recent ischemia in 17/27; 25/27 patients had uni- or multifocal stenoses of intracranial arteries on TOF-MRA and 5/6 had stenoses on DSA. Vessel wall thickening was identified in 25/27, wall enhancement in 23/27 patients. CONCLUSION: Wall thickening and intramural contrast uptake are frequent findings in patients with active cerebral vasculitis affecting large brain arteries. Further prospective studies are required to determine the specificity of this finding.

Original publication




Journal article


Cerebrovasc Dis

Publication Date





23 - 29


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Brain Ischemia, Cerebral Arterial Diseases, Cerebral Arteries, Child, Child, Preschool, Contrast Media, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, Male, Middle Aged, Predictive Value of Tests, Reproducibility of Results, Retrospective Studies, Vasculitis, Central Nervous System