Vol. 11 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2017
Views & Reviews Páginas: 356 a 363

The role of biopsies and autopsies in the diagnosis of cognitive impairment, with emphasis on small vessel diseases: A critical appraisal enriched by personal experience

Authors Leila Chimelli

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keywords: cognitive impairment; cerebral small vessel diseases; vasculitis; cerebral and meningeal biopsy; autopsy.

ABSTRACT:
Acquired and hereditary microangiopathies cause cerebral small vessel diseases (CSVD) that impair cognition. The most frequent is primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS), whose diagnosis remains challenging, requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Secondary vasculitis, CADASIL, miscellaneous microangiopathies and lymphomas, also cause cognitive impairment. Despite the fact that the need for biopsy has decreased in the era of new neuroimaging methods, biopsies that include small leptomeningeal and parenchymal arterial vessels still remain the gold standard to diagnose PACNS and other CSVD, and to exclude mimics such as infections and malignancies. New approaches for pathological consequences relevant to vascular cognitive impairment such as silent brain lesions, microinfarcts, microbleeds and subtle loss of microstructural integrity, may be detected in autopsies. This article addresses the role of biopsies and autopsies for the diagnosis of cognitive impairment related to small vessel diseases or other inflammatory/ischemic processes, and presents a critical appraisal based on personal experience.

 

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