Case Studies| Volume 26, ISSUE 2, e38-e40, February 2017

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Diagnostic Utility of Contrast-enhanced 3D T1-weighted Imaging in Acute Cerebral Infarction Associated with Graves Disease

      Graves disease is rarely complicated with cerebrovascular steno-occlusive diseases. Previous studies have suggested several hypotheses for this occurrence, including excess thyroid hormone, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn causes an abnormal hemodynamic response with consequent atherosclerotic changes, and antithyroid antibodies cause local vascular inflammation in patients with Graves disease. However, radiological findings of vasculitis in patients with Graves disease and cerebral infarction remain less known. We report the case of a 30-year-old Japanese woman with acute cerebral infarction due to vasculitis associated with Graves disease. She was admitted to our hospital with a 4-day history of intermittent transient dysarthria and limb shaking of the left leg when standing. Three weeks before admission, she went to a local hospital because of general malaise and was diagnosed with Graves disease. Neurological examination revealed paralytic dysarthria, left central facial nerve palsy, and left hemiparesis (manual muscle testing, 4 of 5). Blood examinations showed hyperthyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone ≤.010 µU/mL; free T3 ≥25.0 pg/mL; free T4 ≥8.0 ng/dL) and elevation of antithyroid antibody levels (thyroid peroxidase antibody, 87 IU/mL). The vessel wall of the right internal carotid artery was markedly enhanced on contrast-enhanced three-dimensional T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, suggesting vasculitis. Magnetic resonance angiography revealed right internal carotid artery occlusion after the branching ophthalmic artery. Arterial stenosis due to vasculitis was considered the cause of hemodynamic ischemic stroke. Vessel wall imaging such as high-resolution contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging seems useful for assessing the underlying mechanism of stroke in patients with Graves disease.

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