Two patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus and contralateral hemiparesis are described, and their findings compared with 49 patients previously reported. These patients presented with delayed contralateral hemiparesis approximately seven weeks after the onset of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Most patients had evidence of infarction of the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery by angiography or by CT scan. Cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis and elevated protein commonly were found. Twenty per cent of the reported patients died, but they were older than the patients who survived and predisposed to have diffuse CNS lesions. The pathogenesis of this syndrome is thought to be due to direct viral invasion of the blood vessel wall with resulting angiitis. Further studies need to be performed to clarify the role of specific antiviral therapy or anti-inflammatory agents in treating this complication of herpes zoster.
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