Brain imaging findings and neurologic complications after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children

Mara Bonardi, Elena Turpini, Giuseppina Sanfilippo, Tommaso Mina, Alessandra Tolva, Federico Zappoli Thyrion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only therapy for a subset of patients with malignant and nonmalignant diseases. Central nervous system (CNS) complications continue to be an important cause of morbidity and significantly contribute to mortality after HSCT. These complications include infections, cerebrovascular lesions, therapy-induced diseases, metabolic disturbances, and post-HSCT carcinogenesis. Following HSCT, three phases can be identified on the basis of the patient’s immune status: the pre-engraftment period (<30 days after HSCT), the early postengraftment period (30–100 days after HSCT), and the late postengraftment period (>100 days after HSCT). There is a distinct relationship between the patient’s degree of immunodeficiency after HSCT and the incidence of various complications that may occur. Early diagnosis of CNS complications is crucial for successful management and a good prognosis, and computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging play an important role in achieving these goals. The global increase in the use of HSCT requires radiologists to be familiar with CNS complications, their relationship to the patient’s immune status, and their imaging appearances. This article describes the clinical background of HSCT; reviews the incidence, causes, and timeline of brain complications in children who underwent allogenic HSCT; and identifies the characteristic imaging findings of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1238
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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