PRES (Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome): Potential complication of hypertensive crisis. Case report and literature review


Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a clinical-radiological syndrome, usually reversible, characterized by vasogenic oedema in cerebral posterior regions in patients with autoimmune diseases, nephropathies, hypertensive crisis, eclampsia and exposure to cytotoxic drugs. The main symptoms are: headache, nausea, vomiting, seizures, visual disturbance and altered consciousness. Complications as cerebral hemorrhage and recurrences are rare.

We describe a case of a 65 years old woman, affected by chronic kidney disease, recently exacerbated, diabetes and hypertension in treatment, who showed an heterogeneous clinical presentation with vomiting, headache, blurred vision and impaired consciousness during an episode of acute hypertension. After an adjustement of the antihypertensive treatment we observed a regression of symptoms in one week. FLAIR sequences on MRI showed cerebral bilateral vasogenic oedema in posterior regions, typical for PRES. This case was suggestive for PRES and a prompt adjustement of the antihypertensive treatment was critical for clinical recovery. Brain MRI was crucial for diagnosis. It is important for clinicians to recognize PRES as a possible complication of renal disease and hypertensive crisis.

Key words: Chronic kidney disease, Hypertension, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome

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