Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome: A comprehensive systematic review

T. J. Song, K. H. Lee, H. Li, J. Y. Kim, K. Chang, S. H. Kim, K. H. Han, B. Y. Kim, A. Kronbichler, A. Ducros, A. Koyanagi, L. Jacob, M. S. Kim, D. K. Yon, S. W. Lee, J. M. Yang, S. H. Hong, R. A. Ghayda, J. W. Kang, J. I. ShinL. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: We aimed to analyze clinical characteristics, treatment patterns, and prognosis of patients with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS). Materials And Methods: Two investigators independently searched PubMed and EMBASE, and 191 cases were included in this study. Information regarding demographics, triggering factors, brain imaging findings, treatment modalities, recurrence, and clinical outcome was collected. Results: The mean age of the patients was 39.9 years, and 155 (81.2%) were female. The most common triggering factor for RCVS was an exposure to vasoactive substances (41.4%), followed by pregnancy/postpartum (20.9%), and sexual intercourse (10.5%). Multifocal stenosis (84.0%) and beading shape (82.4%) were the leading abnormal findings on angiography, while cerebral ischemic lesions (47.6%) and cerebral hemorrhage (mainly subarachnoid hemorrhage) (35.1%) were the main findings on brain computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Calcium channel blockers (nimodipine/ verapamil) were the most commonly used medications (44.5%) in the treatment of RCVS. Multivariate analysis identified that RCVS was precipitated by trauma/surgery/procedure (hazard ratio (HR): 3.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.21-8.88), p=0.019), and presence of aphasia/ neglect/apraxia during the acute phase of the disease (HR: 3.83, 95% CI (1.33-11.05), p=0.013) were found to be the two independent risk factors for residual neurological deficit after RCVS. Conclusions: In our systematic review, vasoactive substances were the most frequent triggers for RCVS, which was most commonly accompanied by angiographic findings of multifocal stenotic lesions. Patients with RCVS precipitated by trauma or surgical procedures and those with focal cortical deficits had a higher risk of residual neurological deficits, and these patients should closely be monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3519-3529
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Verduci Editore s.r.l. All rights reserved.


  • Benign angiopathy of the central nervous system
  • Call-Fleming syndrome
  • Central nervous system pseudovasculitis
  • Drug-induced cerebral arteritis
  • Migrainous vasospasm
  • Postpartum cerebral angiopathy
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome
  • Reversible vasospasm
  • Thunderclap headache


Dive into the research topics of 'Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome: A comprehensive systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this