Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 652–662 | Cite as

Human immunodeficiency virus-related cerebral white matter disease in children

  • Christelle AckermannEmail author
  • Ronald van Toorn
  • Savvas Andronikou
Pictorial Essay


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic seems largely controlled by anti-retroviral treatment with resultant large numbers of children growing up with the disease on long-term treatment, placing them at higher risk to develop HIV-related brain injury, ongoing cognitive impairment and treatment-related neurological complications. Cerebral white matter involvement is a common radiologic finding in HIV infection and the causes of this have overlapping appearances, ranging from diffuse widespread involvement to focal lesions. The varied pathophysiology is broadly grouped into primary effects of HIV, opportunistic infection, vascular disease and neoplasms. White matter changes in children can be different from those in adults. This review provides guidance to radiologists with the diagnostic dilemma of nonspecific cerebral white matter lesions in children with HIV. The authors discuss common causes of HIV-related cerebral white matter disease as well as the role of neuroimaging in the management of these children.


Central nervous system Children Computed tomography Human immunodeficiency virus Magnetic resonance imaging White matter 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest None


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christelle Ackermann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ronald van Toorn
    • 2
  • Savvas Andronikou
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of StellenboschTygerbergSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of StellenboschTygerbergSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric Radiology, Children’s Hospital PhiladelphiaUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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