Central nervous system vasculitis in children
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the current literature of childhood primary and secondary central nervous system (CNS) vasculitis and to evaluate the growing differential diagnosis of inflammatory and noninflammatory brain diseases. RECENT FINDINGS: Primary angiitis of the central nervous system in children (cPACNS) is a reversible cause of severe neurological deficits and/or psychiatric symptoms. This disease is classified into subtypes based on distinct clinical and radiological features, treatment strategies, and disease trajectories. Also, the increased diagnostic yield from elective brain biopsies in children has improved our ability to diagnose angiography-negative cPACNS. Over the past few years, the differential diagnosis for cPACNS has rapidly expanded due to the characterization of novel inflammatory and noninflammatory brain diseases. Specifically, vasoconstrictive disorders and neuronal antibody-associated conditions have now been described in children and have overlapping clinical features with cPACNS. SUMMARY: This review summarizes the recent data on diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of cPACNS. It also addresses the evolving differential diagnosis for CNS vasculitis. Our improved understanding of these disorders allows a tailored diagnostic approach leading to rapid diagnosis and initiation of therapy in these potentially reversible conditions.
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