How is Susac's syndrome diagnosed?
A neurological exam may find that the patient has:
- Poor memory, confusion, and poor thinking ability
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty walking
- Slight paralysis or weakness
- Overactive tendon reflexes
- Poor muscle control
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may find:
- Abnormalities (lesions) in the central portion of the corpus callosum (the bundle of nerves that connects the right and left halves of the brain)
- Other white matter lesions
- Lesions in the deep gray matter
- Enhancement (increased visibility) of the leptomeninges, the tissue that covers the brain
Fluorescein angiography looks at blood flow in the eye. Findings in Susac's syndrome include:
- Visible white spots in the retina. These "cotton wool spots" are the result of injury due to disturbed blood flow.
- Blockage of blood vessels in the retina
- Blood vessel "leakage"
- Increased "staining" of the walls of the vessels
A hearing test may find:
- Various degrees of hearing loss, particularly of low-pitched sounds
- Difficulty understanding speech
Because its symptoms are similar to those of a number of other diseases—such as multiple sclerosis, ADEM, encephalitis, meningitis, lupus, and CNS vasculitis—Susac's syndrome may be difficult to diagnose.