Delayed post-traumatic spinal cord infarction in an adult after minor head and neck trauma: a case reportReportar como inadecuado

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Journal of Medical Case Reports

, 6:314

First Online: 19 September 2012Received: 09 April 2012Accepted: 23 July 2012DOI: 10.1186-1752-1947-6-314

Cite this article as: Bartanusz, V., Ziu, M., Wood, L.E. et al. J Med Case Reports 2012 6: 314. doi:10.1186-1752-1947-6-314


IntroductionDelayed post-traumatic spinal cord infarction is a devastating complication described in children. In adults, spinal cord ischemia after cardiovascular interventions, scoliosis correction, or profound hypotension has been reported in the literature. However, delayed spinal cord infarction after minor head trauma has not been described yet.

Case presentationWe report the case of a 45-year-old Hispanic man who had a minor head trauma. He was admitted to our hospital because of paresthesias in his hands and neck pain. A radiological workup showed cervical spinal canal stenosis and chronic cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Twelve hours after admission, our patient became unresponsive and, despite full resuscitation efforts, died. The autopsy revealed spinal cord necrosis involving the entire cervical spinal cord and upper thoracic region.

ConclusionsThis case illustrates the extreme fragility of spinal cord hemodynamics in patients with chronic cervical spinal canal stenosis, in which any further perturbations, such as cervical hyperflexion related to a minor head injury, can have catastrophic consequences. Furthermore, the delayed onset of spinal cord infarction in this case shows that meticulous maintenance of blood pressure in the acute post-traumatic period is of paramount importance, even in patients with minimal post-traumatic symptoms.

KeywordsSpinal cord blood supply Ischemia Minor head trauma AbbreviationsMABPmean arterial blood pressure

SCBFspinal cord blood flow.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-1947-6-314 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Viktor Bartanusz - Mateo Ziu - Leisha E Wood - Jean-Louis Caron


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