Diffuse cerebral blood vessel hyperdensity in polycythemia

Case contributed by Maciej Siczek
Diagnosis certain


Presents with mild symptoms of dementia and no other neurological abnormalities. He was sent for a routine CT scan.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Male

Marked dIffuse hyperdensity of brain vessels (arteries, veins and sinuses) with measured density ca 55-60 HU.

Case Discussion

This patient has a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with polycythemia (hemoglobin 19.7 g/dl / hematocrit 60.4%). Normal renal function. No history of previous intravenous contrast media administration. 

Normal blood (hematocrit 45%) measures approximately 40 HU. Increase in the circulating red cell mass (hematocrit over 60%) results in diffuse hyperdensity of cerebral vessel with a density over 55 HU. 

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