Unusual posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in a case of influenza A/H1N1 infection

Nicoletta Locuratolo, Daniela Mannarelli, Claudio Colonnese, Caterina Pauletti, Laura Antonaci, Giancarlo Ferretti, Francesco Fattapposta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central nervous system involvement is an uncommon though potentially a severe complication during influenza infection; the pathogenic mechanisms of the neurological syndromes described in humans are largely unknown. We describe a case of a 51-year-old man who presented with fever and behavioral changes but no focal neurological deficits. The next day, the condition rapidly evolved into a severe neurological syndrome with recurrent focal motor seizures with secondary generalization. At the brain MRI, FLAIR disclosed a slight area of increased signal in the left mesial frontal cortex extending to the frontopolar area and insula. At DWI, a mild hyperintensity was evident in the mesial-frontopolar cortex, with normal ADC values. MR perfusion was indicative of severe hypoperfusion. Fungal, bacterial and viral cultures in CSF, blood and urine were negative. The nasopharyngeal swab PCR was positive for the H1N1-influenza A virus. The patient was thus treated and by day five the neurological examination results had returned to normal. A follow-up MRI, performed two weeks later, only revealed a residual slight hyperintensity in the left medial frontal cortex. The onset of a rapidly evolving encephalopathy syndrome, its close association with a MRI brain pattern of acute vasogenic edema and favorable outcome support a diagnosis of PRES during influenza A infection. However, the topographic characteristics of the cerebral lesion seem to define a PRES with an atypical pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-116
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2012


  • Clinical neurology
  • DWI
  • Encephalopathy
  • Influenza
  • PRES
  • Viral infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Unusual posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in a case of influenza A/H1N1 infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this