Facebook Pixel Code
Brainworks image

Rehabilitation for CNS vasculitis patients

Patients with CNS Vasculitis can present with serious neurological symptoms and impairments such as cognitive and behavioural changes, seizures, hemiparesis, sensorimotor deficits, and movement disorders[1,2].  Neurological changes can have significant impact on a patient’s motor skills and function. Patients with CNS Vasculitis may have difficulty with activities of daily living (eating, dressing), motor skills (balance, strength, mobility), cognitive skills (thinking, socializing, school work, language).

Rehabilitation  professionals, such as Occupational Therapists (OT), Physiotherapists (PT), and Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), are important partners in the assessment and treatment of patients with CNS Vasculitis.

Rehabiation Therapy may include:

  • Occupational Therapists – specially trained to assess and treat difficulties in activities of daily living (ADLs), fine motor, cognitive and swallowing skills.
  • Physiotherapists – specially trained to assess and treat changes in gross motor skills, mobility and pain.
  • Speech Language Pathologists – specially trained to assess and treat changes in speech,and communication, and swallowing skills.
  • Together, rehabilitation professionals can help to restore function and allow children with motor and cognitive changes to participate maximally in social, leisure, and school activities.

Rehabilitation Therapy may take place in:

  • Acute care hospitals: When a patient is admitted for disease management, rehabilitation therapy can be initiated to assess the patient's functional changes from baseline, beginning rehabilitation therapy, and develop into a plan for the patient’s rehabilitation discharge needs (i.e. supports at home, school, and therapy follow-up).
  • Rehabilitation hospitals: Depending on the severity of impairment, some patients may require intensive therapy at a rehabilitation hospital. There are rehabilitation hospitals that have specialized programs for patients with neurological injuries and offer multidisciplinary services which provide intensive therapy aimed at restoring function. Therapies are provided as either an inpatient or outpatient, and often involve participation in recreational activities.
  • Schools/Workplace: Therapists can provide in-school/workplace assessment and treatment to assist a patient to function maximally.

Rehabilitation Outcome Measures

There is currently no specific rehabilitation outcome tool validated for use in CNS Vasculitis. Research is currently underway to validate a motor outcome tool for use in CNS Vasculitis patients.


  1. Hutchinson C, Elbers J, Halliday W, Branson H, Laughlin S, Armstrong D, Hawkins C, Westmacott R, Benseler SM. Treatment of small vessel primary CNS vasculitis in children: An open-label cohort study. The Lancet Neurology 2010;9:1078-84.
  2. Benseler SM, Silverman E, Aviv RI, Schneider R, Armstrong D, Tyrrell PN, deVeber G. Primary central nervous system vasculitis in children. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2006;54:1291-7.
  3. Deitz JC, Kartin D, Kopp K. Review of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition (BOT-2). Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics 2007;27:87-102.