Neurological and neuroradiological findings in long-term survivors of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess neurological, neuropsychological, and neuroradiological findings in long-term survivors of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) who were recruited from a hematological outpatient clinic. In addition, risk factors for the development of late neurological complications were identified. In contrast to previous studies on autopsied patients, our study design provoked a bias away from increased neurological sequelae, because patients with early complications after BMT were excluded. Fifty-nine allogeneic patients and 7 autologous BMT patients underwent clinical examination, short neuropsychological testing, and cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 34 ± 26 months after BMT. The pathological results of the neurological examination (abnormal 64%) and the MRI examination (white matter lesions, 54%; atrophy, 11%) were associated with the occurrence of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) evolving from acute GvHD, with corticosteroid therapy and with cyclosporine medication. Neuropsychological impairment (cognitive deficits, 37%) was associated with long-term cyclosporine medication and age. No influence of pre-BMT disease, BMT donor status, or the conditioning regimen was found. These results suggest that the frequent neurological abnormalities in long-term survivors of allogeneic BMT are associated with chronic GvHD and with the resulting immunosuppression as major risk factors.

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