Linguistic History of Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome: Mirror of Developing Knowledge Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • BACKGROUND: the term posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) was first proposed in 2000. Since then, the acronym PRES has become very popular in imaging and clinical literature as it is short, easy to say and remember, and neatly couples the frequent localization of neuroimaging findings along with the typical outcome of this syndrome. Another possible reason for the popularity of this acronym in clinical circles is the connotation of PRES with (elevated blood) PRESsure, as a majority of cases are believed to be associated with hypertension. However, problems exist with the interpretation and common understanding of PRES, questioning the appropriateness of "P" and "R" in the acronym. The linguistic issues related to the acronym of PRES are interesting. OBJECTIVES: the aim of this work is to analyze the controversies related to the acronym of PRES. RESULTS: in 2006, modifying the meaning of the acronym was suggested, renaming it Potentially Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome in order to adjust to the cases when posterior involvement is not prominent and emphasize that the reversibility is not spontaneous. This meant the creation of a backronym, where the new phrase is constructed by starting with an existing acronym. CONCLUSION: this new backronym indicates that the original acronym of PRES has become a misnomer.


  • Maizlin, Zeev V
  • Ghandehari, Hournaz
  • Maizels, Leonid
  • Shewchuk, Jason R
  • Kirby, John M
  • Vora, Parag
  • Clement, Jason J

publication date

  • January 2011