Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome and hemorrhage associated with tacrolimus in a pediatric heart transplantation recipient

Robert W. Loar, Marc C. Patterson, Patrick W. O'Leary, David J. Driscoll, Jonathan N. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a disorder characterized by gray and white matter abnormalities in the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes of the brain. Its etiology has been attributed to renal failure, immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus, and other potential entities leading to acute hypertension. Clinical findings include headaches, altered mental status, seizures, visual changes, and focal neurologic deficits. We report the case of a child who developed PRES with intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhages associated with tacrolimus exposure 10 days after heart transplantation for restrictive cardiomyopathy. The patient initially presented with complex partial seizures, headache, agitation, and hypertension. Head MRI was suggestive of PRES along with intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhages. Tacrolimus was discontinued and blood pressure was controlled. The patient's encephalopathy resolved, but he has had ongoing neurologic symptoms secondary to hemorrhage. Generally, PRES is less common in children than in the adult population and is a rare complication of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI). Presentation with secondary hemorrhage also can occur. In children receiving CNIs presenting with new neurologic symptoms, PRES should be considered as prompt discontinuation of the offending agent can induce resolution of symptoms. Children can develop hemorrhage in the context of PRES, leading to increased morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E67-E70
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • calcineurin inhibitor
  • heart transplant
  • hemorrhage
  • pediatric
  • posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome
  • tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome and hemorrhage associated with tacrolimus in a pediatric heart transplantation recipient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this