What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of rabies?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

As the neurologic phase of rabies progresses, chest radiographs may reveal infiltrates due to aspiration, nosocomial pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or congestive heart failure.

Findings from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning of the brain often indicate that no abnormalities are present. MRI may demonstrate increasing nonspecific low-level T2 enhancement early along the nerve plexus and nerve root ganglia early in illness. Later, moderate gadolinium enhancement may appear in the thalamus, substantia nigra, brainstem, deep gray matter, and cranial nerves. [20]


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