<h4>Introduction</h4>Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) is characterised by severe, recurrent thunderclap headaches (TCHs) and vasoconstriction of cerebral arteries that resolve within 3 months. Abnormalities on non-contrast CT (NCCT) such as ischaemic strokes, intracerebral haemorrhage and subarachnoid haemorrhages are frequently observed on brain imaging of patients with RCVS though their prevalence varies considerably between studies. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to estimate the prevalence of NCCT abnormalities seen on neuroimaging of adult patients with RCVS.<h4>Methods and analysis</h4>We will search the Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library databases for studies on the prevalence of NCCT abnormalities on neuroimaging of patients with RCVS. Search results will be screened for eligibility by title and abstract. Suitable studies will be fully reviewed and relevant data extracted using a data abstraction form. The studies will be assessed for methodological quality, risk of bias and heterogeneity. Prevalence estimates across studies will be pooled using a random-effects model and subgroup analysis will be performed to assess the impact of age, sex, publication year and study design on prevalence of vascular lesions. Sensitivity analysis will be used to investigate the robustness of the findings. This protocol has been devised using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols 2015 checklist.<h4>Ethics and dissemination</h4>Formal ethics is not required as primary data will not be collected. The findings of this study will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations.<h4>Trial registration number</h4>CRD42020190637.
BMJ Open (BMJ open)
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