Acute stroke in a child with miliary tuberculosis

Schoeman J.F. ; Rutherfoord G.S. ; Hewlett R.H. (1997)


Neurological symptoms in childhood miliary tuberculosis are generally caused by underlying tuberculous meningitis (TBM), since the 2 conditions commonly occur concurrently. Cerebral infarction, a well-recognized complication of TBM, usually results from tuberculous periarteritis and secondary thrombosis. Neuropathological studies have demonstrated that the anterior cerebral circulation is more commonly affected than the arteries of the vertebro-basilar system, and basilar artery occlusion as a presenting manifestation of childhood miliary tuberculosis or TBM has not been described before. We report a 13-month-old infant who presented with fever and convulsions, terminating in acute decerebration after a second prolonged seizure 1 week after the onset of symptoms. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated density changes compatible with acute vertebro-basilar ischemia as well as multiple cerebral granulomas. A chest radiograph showed diffuse miliary tuberculosis. Postmortem examination confirmed this diagnosis and revealed acute occlusion of the basilar artery by an infected (septic) thromboembolus showing granulomatous inflammation, which most likely arose from an endocardial vegetation with identical histology.

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