A pediatric case of reversible segmental cerebral vasoconstriction

Adam Kirton, John Diggle, William Hu, Elaine Wirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Reversible segmental cerebral vasoconstriction (RSCV) is a recognizable clinical and radiographic syndrome consisting of thunderclap headache with or without focal neurological symptoms combined with reversible segmental vasoconstriction of proximal cerebral blood vessels. Methods: We report a case of reversible segmental cerebral vasoconstriction in a child. Results: A healthy 13-year-old boy experienced the sudden onset of a severe, diffuse headache upon surfacing from a deep dive in a swimming pool. Severity was maximal at the onset and improved over several hours. The same headache recurred three times over the next four days and a low baseline headache persisted throughout. Vomiting occurred once and mild photo/osmophobia were reported but throbbing, aura, or autonomic symptoms were absent. Focal neurological signs or symptoms were absent and he denied previous history of headaches, medications, drugs, or trauma. Two normal CT scans were performed within hours of separate headaches. Cerebrospinal fluid study on day 5 was bloody with no xanthochromia. MRI/MRA/MRV of the brain and vasculitic work-up were normal. Cerebral angiography on day 6 demonstrated smooth narrowing of multiple proximal cerebral vessels including supraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA), M1, and A1 on the right and M1 on the left. By ten days, the patient's headaches had resolved and repeat angiography was normal. Conclusion: RSCV should be considered in a child with thunderclap headache.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-253
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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