The Value and the Variability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome


Objectives: The objectives of this article are twofold: To review the value and the variability of MR imaging (MRI) findings in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to reveal the frequency of central nervous system (CNS) involvement. SLE is a complex multisystem autoimmune connective tissue disorder with a broad spectrum of clinical presentations. Materials and methods: We present three cases, two with neurological symptoms and one case with musculoskeletal symptoms. Patients were imaged in the MRI department of the University Hospital of Patras. All patients had a previous history of antiphospholipid syndrome and known SLE. Results: None of the pts had a normal brain MRI. Abnormal lesions were typically high on FLAIR and T2-weighted images. One patient showed myositis of the tibial muscles bilateral and although she did not reveal any neurological symptoms, because of the presence of APS, she underwent brain MRI to detect any cerebrovascular involvement. The brain MRI was abnormal and showed extensive lesions and porencephalia. In all cases the differential diagnosis of the brain MRI included vasculitis, focal ischemia, multiple sclerosis or other entities. Parenchymal volume loss-cerebral atrophy, incompatible with their age, was obvious in all patients. Conclusion: Magnetic resonance imaging is the gold standard for the investigation of central nervous system in patients suffering from lupus. Lupus patients who also develop antiphospholipid syndrome must be submitted to brain MRI because central nervous involvement is very common and serious, although symptoms may be silent as in our case.

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Solomou, E. , Rigopoulou, A. and Petsas, T. (2015) The Value and the Variability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome. Open Journal of Radiology, 5, 28-33. doi: 10.4236/ojrad.2015.51005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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