Cerebrovascular Amyloidosis Senile Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy is a condition in which aprotein is deposited into the walls of the blood vessels that supply blood tothe brain. The protein that gets deposited is called amyloid.

What is going on in the body?

It is not known why amyloid getsdeposited into the brain’s blood vessel walls in senile cerebral amyloidangiopathy. The protein deposits weaken the blood vessels. This results in agreatly increased risk for bleeding into the brain, known as intracerebral hemorrhage. The bleedingmay cause permanent brain damage or death.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact causeof senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy is not known. Most cases occur in peopleolder than 60 years.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Symptomsonly exist if there is an intracerebralhemorrhage. This bleeding into the brain usually causes sudden symptoms, including:

  • visual impairments, such asblindness or blurry vision
  • loss of ability to talk or talking in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • loss of sensation on one side of the body
  • weakness or paralysis on oneside of the body
  • headaches
  • eye pain or ear pain
  • confusion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • stiff neck
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures, which are caused byabnormal electrical activity in the brain that may result in shaking or othersymptoms
  • Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    A healthcare provider may suspect senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy after the history and physical exam. Imaging studies of the brain, such as a cranial CT scan or cranial MRI,will show the bleeding into the brain. However, there are other causes ofbleeding into the brain, such as high blood pressure. Examining a piece of the person’s brain with a microscope is the only way to diagnose this condition. This is usually only done after death, during an autopsy.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the condition?

    There are noknown ways to prevent senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    A person with senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy usually has repeated episodes of bleeding into the brain over a period of months or years. Each episode of bleeding carries a risk of death or permanent brain damage. After each episode of bleeding, a personusually becomes more and more disabled. The person may become totally dependent on others for his or her basic needs. Death will eventually occur.

    What are the risks to others?

    Senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy is not known to be contagious or inherited.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    There are no known treatments forsenile amyloid angiopathy. However, treatment is needed when an intracerebral hemorrhage occurs.Treatmentoften involves the use of medications such as mannitol to reduce the pressurewithin the brain. An individual with large bleeding episodes may benefit fromcraniotomy, which is brainsurgery, toremove the blood in or around the brain. Medications are also used to treatseizures if they occur.

    Other treatment depends on the type of brain damage or disability the persondevelops. For example, a person may need a device to help him or her walk, such as a cane or walker. Others may need around-the-clock nursing care to help them eat, bathe, and dress.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    All medications have possible side effects. For example, mannitol can cause allergic reactions and salt imbalances. Surgery carries a risk of further bleeding, brain damage, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Treatment depends on the person’s medical problems and disabilities after the bleeding episode. Because senile cerebral amyloid angiopathy cannot be diagnosed for certain before death and no treatment is available, further treatment is based on the person’s current needs. People usually get gradually worse with each episode of bleeding.

    How is the condition monitored?

    The person should seekimmediate attention if any of the symptoms of bleeding into the brain occur.Other monitoring is based on the person’s needs and disabilities.

    Article type: xmedgeneral