Analysis of a Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma Mimicking Cerebral Infarction:A Case Report and Review of the Literatures Mitsuya WATANABE 1 , Eiji ABE 1 , Koichiro SAKAMOTO 1 , Kou HORIKOSHI 1 , Hideaki UENO 1 , Yasuaki NAKAO 1 , Takuji YAMAMOTO 1 1Department of Neurosurgery, Juntendo University Shizuoka Hospital Keyword: spinal epidural hematoma , cerebral infarction , thrombolytic therapy , recombinant tissue plasminogen activator , surgical treatment pp.683-690
Published Date 2020/8/10
DOI https://doi.org/10.11477/mf.1436204254
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 Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a rare disease, and the critical form may mimic cerebral infarction in the acute stage. Consequently, misdiagnosis of a cerebral infarction may result in unnecessary antithrombotic therapy. The present study investigated 19 cases of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma first diagnosed as cerebral infarctions and treated with antithrombotic therapy. Of these, 16 cases(84.2%)presented with pain in the neck, shoulder, and back on admission, 19 cases(100%)with hemiplegia not including the face, 7 cases(36.8%)with limb sensory disturbance, and all 19 cases(100%)underwent MRI findings for definite diagnosis. After diagnosis, 6 of the 19 cases(31.6%)were treated with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator(rt-PA)administration, 13 cases(68.4%)with surgical treatment, and 9 cases(47.4%)were without after effect and showed good progress. MRI is effective in detecting spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma, however, CT is also used for this diagnosis. The most common site of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is the cervicothoracic spine junction or thoracolumbar spine junction, but occurrence in the upper cervical vertebra may present with hemiplegia similar to cerebral infarction. Pathognomonic symptoms include pain in the neck, shoulder, and back, however, symptoms such as hemiplegia not including the face, cervical spine, and cervical cord lesion may be important indicators. Although, some cases may not present with pain and sensory disturbance symptoms, therefore an initial misdiagnosis of cerebral infarction may be made and subsequent antithrombotic therapy can result in increased bleeding and serious after-effects. In particular, 4 of the 6 cases(66.7%)treated with hyperacute phase thrombolytic therapy(rt-PA treatment)in this study required surgical treatment, and the time until definite diagnosis was shorter compared with other antithrombotic agents, presumably due to the rapid increase in hematoma. Therefore, the possibility of spinal cord epidural hematoma should be considered before beginning rt-PA therapy with careful examination to confirm the presence of lesions in the cervical spine and cervical cord.

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