Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome in a Patient with Septic Shock: A Case Report

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Introduction: Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a reversible condition with nonspecific neurologic and characteristic radiologic findings. Clinical presentation may include headache, nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, seizures, and vision changes. Diagnosis is confirmed through T2-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showing bilateral hyperintensities in the white matter of posterior circulatory regions.

Case report: We report a case of PRES in a patient suffering from complicated diverticulitis. Following medical management in the emergency department, the patient deteriorated, becoming hypotensive and altered. Bowel resection under general anesthesia was performed. Postoperative brain MRI demonstrated bilateral and symmetric T2 signal hyperintensities suggestive of PRES. Following supportive treatment, the patient was discharged from the surgical intensive care unit on postoperative day 21 with no residual deficits.

Conclusion: It is important to recognize the nonspecific neurologic symptoms associated with PRES. Emergency physicians should suspect acute PRES when managing patients with prolonged or unexplained encephalopathy, while recognizing that hypertension need not be present.