HIV-related vacuolar myelopathy

HIV-related vacuolar myelopathy, also known as AIDS-related myelopathy, is the most common chronic myelopathy associated with HIV infection and is typically seen in the late stages of the disease.

Patients tend to have slowly progressive weakness of the lower extremities, gait disorders, sensory abnormalities in the lower limb, impotence, urinary frequency and urgency 4.

HIV infected mononuclear cells secrete neurotoxic factors. Another contributing factor may be the impaired ability to use vitamin B-12 as a source of methionine in transmethylation metabolism for myelin in the spinal cord (which may explain why findings are similar to those in subacute combined degeneration).

  • spinal cord atrophy is the most common finding, typically involving the thoracic cord; cervical cord may also be involved
  • bilateral symmetric dorsal column involvement can be seen: similar to subacute combined degeneration 1-3
Infections of the central nervous system
Share article

Article information

rID: 26884
Tag: spine
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • AIDS-related myelopathy
  • AIDS-associated vacuolar myelopathy
  • AIDS related vacuolar myelopathy

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.