Expanding the clinical and neuroimaging features of post-varicella arteriopathy of childhood.

Post-varicella arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) is considered an uncommon cause of pediatric stroke that is considered a self-limiting, monophasic disease. However, in a subset of patients, disease recurs; the prevalence of vasculopathy or AIS recurrence, severity of clinical outcomes, and standardized therapies have not been well characterized. Herein, we determined the clinical-neuroradiological features, long-term evolution, and relationship between acute phase treatment and vasculopathy recurrence in a pediatric population with post-varicella AIS.Clinical, laboratory, and neuroradiological features of 22 children with post-varicella AIS between 2010 and 2019 (16 males, mean age at stroke 4 years, range 1.7-10) were reviewed. Statistical analyses were performed using χ2 and Fisher exact tests.Of the 22 cases, mean time from varicella to stroke was 4.5 months with 3 cases presenting more than 12 months after rash; 21 (95%) were not vaccinated for varicella; 3 (13.6%) had posterior circulation involvement; and 5 (22.7%) had AIS or vasculopathy recurrence, of which 4 recurred 6.1 months to 2.8 years after initial clinical onset. Recurrence was associated with lack of antiviral treatment during the first episode (p = 0.02).Post-varicella AIS can occur months after rash making diagnosis challenging. Because recurrent vasculopathy was seen predominantly in cases not treated with antiviral therapy during initial presentation, it is important to rapidly diagnose post-varicella AIS through clinical criteria and/or virological testing then treat with antivirals to prevent recurrence.

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Authors: Marta Bertamino, Sara Signa, Marco Veneruso, Giulia Prato, Roberta Caorsi, Giuseppe Losurdo, Federica Teutonico, Silvia Esposito, Francesca Formica, Nicola Tovaglieri, Maria A Nagel, Giulia Amico, Alice Zanetti, Domenico Tortora, Andrea Rossi, Paolo Moretti, Marco Gattorno, Angelo Ravelli, Mariasavina Severino, in behalf of Gaslini Stroke Study Group