Hypertension as the trigger for posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in paediatric renal patients: An important diagnosis that should not be missed

  • J.K. Strong
  • K.L. Petersen
  • U Kala


Background. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a reversible neurological condition presenting with seizures and visual disturbances and diagnosed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Little is understood about its pathogenesis, particularly in children, but it is thought to be related to hypertension.

Objectives. To review the presentation, diagnosis and outcome of PRES in paediatric renal patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa, between 1 January 2000 and 31 January 2017 and compare these with published case reports to date.

Methods. This was a retrospective analysis of five new cases and a review of the existing literature.

Results. The five reported patients were all hypertensive at the time of diagnosis and presented with seizures. Most (91%) of the 64 reviewed patients were also hypertensive at initial presentation. All five of the reported and 91% of the reviewed patients presented with seizures. The most common pattern of change on MRI occurred in the parietal and occipital regions. Complete neurological recovery occurred in four of the five reported and 87.5% of the reviewed patients.

Conclusion. All patients presented clinically with hypertensive crises and radiological evidence of PRES. Seizures were the most common presenting symptom. The prognosis for paediatric patients with PRES is favourable, so it is important to confirm the diagnosis in lowresource settings where intensive care is limited.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135