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CNS tuberculosis

Case contributed by Dr Mark Hall


19-year-old male agitated and confused with a reduced GCS (12). He is pyrexial with a nonspecific history of recent foreign travel. His blood results showed hyponatremia and abnormal LFTs. In addition, he was found to have a left sided hemiparesis, bulbar palsy and 7th nerve palsy.

Patient Data

Age: 19
Gender: Male

MRI brain with contrast

Findings: There are multiple small ring enhancing lesions demonstrated predominantly in the posterior fossa, with at least eight lesions demonstrated in the cerebellum, two lesions in the pons and one lesion left inferomedial temporal lobe.  In addition, there are multiple areas of subcortical enhancement throughout both cerebral hemispheres. None of these lesions show restricted diffusion.  

There are large lesions which are not-enhancing, hypointense on T1 and hyperintense on T2/FLAIR, which show restricted diffusion in both corona radiata and the posterior limb of the left internal capsule.  

Incidental empty sella.

In view of positive AAFB on lumbar puncture:  Multiple tuberculomas in the posterior fossa, brainstem and inferomedial left temporal lobe. Evidence of subcortical enhancement elsewhere. Restricted diffusion demonstrated in the deep white matter bilaterally in keeping with ischemia secondary to TB arteritis.

Case Discussion

The combination of radiological and microbiological findings lead to the diagnosis of CNS tuberculosis with multiple tuberculomas and arteritis. The patient was started on a 1-year course of antibiotics (Rifampin, Isoniazid and Ciprofloxacin). Repeat MRI showed the old infarcts and complete resolution of the tuberculomas.

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Case information

rID: 40083
Published: 6th Oct 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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