Cerebral oedema (summary)

Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

Cerebral oedema describes the collection of additional fluid within the white matter of the brain. It is the brain's response to an insult and may take one of two broad forms: vasogenic (white matter) and cytotoxic oedema.

Reference article

This is a summary article; read more in our article on cerebral oedema.

  • pathophysiology
    • oedema within the brain parenchyma (white or grey matter)
      • the result of a brain insult (ischaemia/infarction, infection, tumour etc)
    • two main types of cerebral oedema
      • cytotoxic
        • white and grey matter
        • usually the result of ischaemia/infarction
        • blurring of the grey-white junction
      • vasogenic
        • white-matter only
        • surrounds abscess or a tumour
    • periventricular oedema occurs secondary to hydrocephalus

CT head | MRI brain

  • role of imaging
    • confirm the presence of oedema
    • determine the likely underlying cause
    • determine whether there is sequela from any mass effect
  • radiographic features
    • compression and displacement of adjacent structures
    • change in parencymal density (CT) and signal (MRI)
      • reduced density (attenuation) on CT
      • high-signal on T2-weighted sequences (MRI)
      • low-signal on T1-weighted sequences (MRI)
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Article information

rID: 55164
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

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    Vasogenic oedema (breast cancer metastasis)
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    Cytotoxic oedema (left MCA stroke)
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    Vasogenic oedema (renal cell cancer metastasis)
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    Hydrocephalus with periventricular oedema
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