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January 1995

The Predictive Value of Cytomegalovirus Retinitis for Cytomegalovirus Encephalitis in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Bylsma, Kuppermann, Freeman, and Gonzalez), Pathology (Drs Achim and Wiley), and Family and Preventive Medicine (Dr Berry), University of California—San Diego, La Jolla.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(1):89-95. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100010091026

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection of the brain, optic nerves, and retinas from 47 consecutive autopsies of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were examined. Immunocytochemistry demonstrated CMV infection in 11 (23%) brains, two (2%) of 94 optic nerves, and 38 (40%) of 94 retinas. Ten (91%) of 11 patients with CMV encephalitis had concurrent retinitis. While 10 (42%) of 24 patients with CMV retinitis had CMV encephalitis, when the retinitis included the peripapillary region, 75% had encephalitis. Usually, the optic nerve parenchyma was not infected histologically despite extensive peripapillary retinitis. The strength of these associations suggests that CMV retinitis defines a group of patients with AIDS at risk for development of CMV encephalitis (relative risk, 9.5), particularly when the retinitis involves the peripapillary region (relative risk, 13). Furthermore, in patients with AIDS without CMV retinitis, central nervous system symptoms are unlikely to be attributable to CMV encephalitis.