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Cerebral Ischemia in Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Mixed Cryoglobulinemia

      We describe two women (ages 35 and 36 years) with cerebral ischemia, hepatitis C virus, and mixed cryoglobulinemia. One patient (case 1) was in otherwise good health when left parietal cerebral infarction developed, and she was found to have narrowing of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery siphon, anterior cerebral artery A1, and middle cerebral artery Ml segments bilaterally. Subsequent evaluation revealed abnormal liver enzymes, mixed cryoglobulinemia (type III), hypocomplementemia, and a high positive test result for rheumatoid factor. In the other patient (case 2), cerebral ischemia and seizures developed in the setting of previously documented mixed cryoglobulinemia (type II), membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, and hypocomplementemia. In this patient, a brain biopsy demonstrated cerebral infarction. Hepatitis C virus infection was confirmed in both patients by polymerase chain reaction detection of hepatitis C virus RNA. These two cases document the occurrence of cerebral ischemia in patients with hepatitis C virus infection and mixed cryoglobulinemia. Testing for hepatitis C virus and cryoglobulins should be considered in selected patients with cerebral ischemia of inobvious cause.
      CNS (central nervous system), CT (computed tomography), ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), HCV (hepatitis C virus), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), ICA (internal carotid artery), MCA (middle cerebral artery), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
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