Lupus-related myelitis: serial MR findings.
PURPOSE: To correlate the MR findings in transverse myelitis secondary to systemic lupus erythematosus with clinical findings during disease exacerbation and remission. METHODS: Four patients (ages 33 to 47 years) with episodes of transverse myelitis secondary to systemic lupus erythematosus were identified. Three patients had recurrent transverse myelitis episodes (one patient with two recurrences), for a total of eight episodes. MR examinations (six after contrast administration) were performed during each transverse myelitis episode, as well as during four periods of remission (in three patients) after therapy with steroids and/or immunosuppressive agents. MR examinations were reviewed for the presence of spinal cord enlargement, intramedullary signal abnormality, and contrast enhancement. RESULTS: Prolongation of T1 or T2 signal (or both) was seen in eight episodes (100%). Spinal cord enlargement was seen in six (75%) of eight transverse myelitis episodes, although it was mild during two episodes. Contrast enhancement was seen in three of six transverse myelitis episodes (dense, inhomogeneous enhancement during two episodes in one patient, and a small focus of enhancement in one patient). During periods of remission, spinal cord diameter returned to normal, and no contrast enhancement was seen, although abnormal signal was present in three examinations performed within 2 months of a transverse myelitis episode. CONCLUSION: Spinal cord widening and signal abnormalities are common MR findings during episodes of transverse myelitis related to systemic lupus erythematosus, and contrast enhancement is less frequently seen. Improvement or resolution of these findings correlates with clinical improvement.
Provenzale, JM; Barboriak, DP; Gaensler, EH; Robertson, RL; Mercer, B
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