How is progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy diagnosed?
Many of the symptoms of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy are similar to those seen with other HIV-related diseases (e.g., toxoplasmosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and lymphoma of the central nervous system). Thus, it is important to determine the exact cause of these symptoms so that the correct treatment can be started. Diagnosis is difficult, but usually relies on a neurologist and radiologist assessing the white matter of the brain on a computed tomography scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Tests of the cerebrospinal fluid can help distinguish between PML and other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalopathy. The rapid clinical progression in immunocompromised patients is another distinguishing factor.