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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946


VIDAL, José E. et al. Aids-related progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: a retrospective study in a referral center in São Paulo, Brazil. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2008, vol.50, n.4, pp.209-212. ISSN 1678-9946.

Few data are available about progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) from Brazil. The objectives of this study were to describe the main features of patients with PML and estimate its frequency among AIDS patients with central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic diseases admitted to the Instituto de Infectologia Emílio Ribas, São Paulo, Brazil, from April 2003 to April 2004. A retrospective and descriptive study was performed. Twelve (6%) cases of PML were identified among 219 patients with neurological diseases. The median age of patients with PML was 36 years and nine (75%) were men. Nine (75%) patients were not on antiretroviral therapy at admission. The most common clinical manifestations were: focal weakness (75%), speech disturbances (58%), visual disturbances (42%), cognitive dysfunction (42%), and impaired coordination (42%). The median CD4+ T-cell count was 45 cells/µL. Eight (67%) of 12 patients were laboratory-confirmed with PML and four (33%) were possible cases. Eleven (92%) presented classic PML and only one case had immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS)-related PML. In four (33%) patients, PML was the first AIDS-defining illness. During hospitalization, three patients (25%) died as a result of nosocomial pneumonia and nine (75%) were discharged to home. Cases of PML were only exceeded by cases of cerebral toxoplasmosis, cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, and CNS tuberculosis, the three more frequent neurologic opportunistic infections in Brazil. The results of this study suggest that PML is not an uncommon HIV-related neurologic disorder in a referral center in Brazil.

Keywords : Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; Epidemiology; Diagnosis; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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