Lee EJ, Kim KK, Lee EK, Lee JE. Characteristic MRI findings in hyperglycaemia-induced seizures: diagnostic value of contrast-enhanced fluid-attenuated inversion recovery imaging. 2016, Volume 71, Issue 12, Pages 1240 – 1247


  • Patients with hyperglycaemia-related seizures may have characteristic transient MRI abnormalities.
  • Contrast-enhanced FLAIR imaging is greatly superior to contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging for detecting MRI abnormalities
  • MRI abnormalities in hyperglycaemia-related seizures differ from post-ictal MRI findings in status epilepticus
  • Increased awareness of this disease entity may reduce the risk of misdiagnosis and unnecessary interventions

To describe characteristic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities in hyperglycaemia-induced seizures, and evaluate the diagnostic value of contrast-enhanced fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging. Possible underlying mechanisms of this condition are also discussed.


Eleven patients with hyperglycaemia-induced seizures and MRI abnormalities were retrospectively studied. Clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, MRI findings, and clinical outcomes were analysed.


All patients, except one, presented with focal seizures, simple or complex partial seizures, or negative motor seizures. All patients had long-standing uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. The MRI abnormalities observed acutely were focal subcortical hypointensities on T2-weighted imaging and FLAIR imaging in all patients with overlying cortical gyral T2 hyperintensities in five. Focal overlying cortical or leptomeningeal enhancement on contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging or contrast-enhanced FLAIR imaging was observed in all patients. Contrast-enhanced FLAIR imaging was superior to contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging for detecting characteristic cortical or leptomeningeal enhancement. Diffusion-weighted imaging showed mildly restricted diffusion in four of five patients with cortical gyral T2 hyperintensity. In nine patients, the lesions were localised in the parietal or parieto-occipital lobes. The other two patients showed localised precentral gyral lesions. After treatment, the neurological symptoms, including the seizures, improved in all patients. On clinical recovery, the subcortical T2 hypointensity, gyral or leptomeningeal enhancement, and overlying cortical T2 hyperintensities resolved.


Recognition of these radiological abnormalities in patients with hyperglycaemia-induced seizures is important in restricting unwarranted investigations and initiating early therapy. These patients generally have a good prognosis.