Friday, April 04, 2014

Hemosiderin deposition in brain as footprint of high altitude cerebral edema (HACE)

Neurology 2013; 81: 1776-9.

Idea- hemosiderin does not go away so patients who experience HACE have hemosiderin seen in corpus callosum-- specifically splenium-- months or years after initial injury.  37 mountaineers were studied, 8 of whom had had HACE, 11 acute mountain sickness, and 8 high clims without injury.  Unequivocal microhemorrhages were seen in 8 subjects and equivocal ones in 2 others, 1-35 months after climb.  Severe cases had microhemorrhages outside the splenium. 

Recall that HACE is vasogenic edema that is often fatal within 24-48 hours due to brain herniation.  Authors concluded that the sign of the microhemorrhages in the spleium is very specific  and the severity of the disease correlates with the severity of the microhemorrhages. 

Authors further hypothesize that microhemorrhages are a specific finding due to hypoxic insult of the blood brain barrier due to a hydrostatic leak with extravasation of red blood cells, much as occurs in lungs in patients with high altitude pulmonary edema *HAPE). 

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