How is stroke characterized in CNS lupus?

Updated: May 04, 2021
  • Author: Pradeep C Bollu, MD; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Stroke is clinically evident in 5-10% of most series and may involve small, medium, or large vessels by a variety of mechanisms as discussed earlier. Subacute evolution or any premonitory symptoms suggest a thrombotic or vasculitic mechanism, whereas an abrupt onset with maximum deficit initially supports an embolic mechanism.

Vasculitis is often seen with SLE but is usually limited to small vessels alone. The primary pathology in SLE-related vasculitis is leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Medium- and large-vessel vasculitis in association with SLE is distinctly uncommon.

Ischemic stroke should be differentiated from brain hemorrhage, brain abscess, and other structural lesions. Parenchymal brain hemorrhage may result from bleeding into an ischemic vascular bed, particularly following cardiac emboli or dural sinus thrombosis.

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