Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome in the Setting of COVID-19 and Pleomorphic Sarcoma A Case Report

Ehab Harahsheh, David Gritsch, Amir Mbonde, Michael Apolinario, Joseph M. Hoxworth, Bart M. Demaerschalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Reversible cerebral vasonstriction syndrome (RCVS) is an increasingly recognized clinical and radiologic syndrome. However, it has been rarely reported in the setting of the novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection or sarcomatous tumors. RCVS might be the initial manifestations of COVID-19 infection or noncatecholamine producing masses including sarcoma. Case Report: A 44-year-old male who developed COVID-19-related symptoms followed by rapid onset of severe headaches in the setting of persistently elevated blood pressure (BP). Brain imaging showed multifocal arterial narrowing in the anterior and posterior circulation consistent with RCVS. Serial imaging demonstrated resolution of the arterial narrowing after BP control was achieved with improvement in the patient's headaches. Further investigation for secondary causes of the patient's elevated BP revealed a right renal mass, and the patient underwent right nephrectomy, and the biopsy results confirmed the diagnosis of pleomorphic sarcoma. Conclusion: Our case suggests a possible association between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 with development of RCVS, but further studies are needed to validate this observation, establish a causal relationship and define a pathophysiological mechanism. Considering tumors other than catecholamine-producing masses as a potential risk factor for developing RCVS might lead to earlier detection and treatment of any underlying malignancy in patients whom the main and sole presentation could be RCVS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-138
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 30 2022


  • COVID-19
  • headache
  • pleomorphic sarcoma
  • reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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