Meningovascular Syphilis: A Case of a Young Man Presenting With Acute Stroke and Pulmonary Emboli


North Florida


Osceola Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



hiv, meningovascular syphilis, neurosyphilis, pulmonary embolism, stroke, syphilis


Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Emergency Medicine | Virus Diseases


Syphilis is caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum and classically progresses through a series of stages with increasing symptomatology if unrecognized and untreated. Importantly, central nervous system invasion can occur at any stage, which can lead to variable presentations of neurosyphilis. One such manifestation is meningovascular syphilis, which causes thrombosis of the cerebral vasculature, leading to stroke-like symptoms such as hemiplegia and aphasia. Young, healthy patients may present with these symptoms without any risk factors typically associated with the pathophysiology of cerebrovascular accidents. Further, patients living with HIV who present with stroke-like symptoms should have an even higher suspicion for neurosyphilis as a potential diagnosis. We present a case report of a 31-year-old male with sudden left-sided weakness and numbness who tested positive for both Treponema pallidum and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

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