Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome after levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device placement—Case report

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) is a disease characterized by reversible multifocal narrowing of the cerebral arteries with clinical manifestations that typically include thunderclap headache and occasionally brain edema, stroke, or seizure. The exact pathophysiology of RCVS is not well known. Case: A 46-year-old female with history of episodic migraine presented with 1-month duration of worsening headaches that had become more severe over the past 2 weeks. The headaches were episodic and thunderclap in onset and aggravated by physical exertion or emotional situations. A neurological examination was unremarkable including initial head computed tomography (CT). A CT angiogram of the head showed multifocal stenosis in the right anterior cerebral artery, bilateral middle cerebral arteries, and right posterior cerebral artery. Cerebral angiogram confirmed the CT angiogram findings. A repeated CT angiogram a few days later showed improvement in the multifocal cerebral arterial stenosis. Lumbar puncture and autoimmune workup were not suggestive of neuroinflammatory etiology. She had one generalized tonic–clonic seizure during her second day of hospitalization. The patient's thunderclap onset headaches resolved in 1 week after she was managed with blood pressure control and pain medication. She denied any illicit drug use or any new medications other than the placement of a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) about 6 weeks prior to her presentation. Conclusions: Our case suggests a possible link between RCVS and levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-704
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • cerebral artery stenosis
  • headache
  • levonorgestrel
  • reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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