Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma of unknown etiology: Case report and literature review

Robert H. Thiele, Ziad A. Hage, Daniel L. Surdell, Stephen L. Ondra, H. Hunt Batjer, Bernard R. Bendok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: Our objective is to emphasize the importance of recognizing and rapidly treating spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH). SSEH is a pathologic entity traditionally thought to be exceptionally rare but which, in the era of MR imaging, is becoming increasingly prevalent, and which if treated with sufficient rapidity can be completely curable. Clinical Presentation: Our particular case presented with clumsiness, neck pain with radiation to both arms, and bilateral arm weakness. According to the literature surveyed, most patients present with severe back and/or neck pain, often with a radicular component, followed by motor and/or sensory deficits. Intervention/Technique: C5-6 decompressive hemilaminectomy with evacuation of hematoma. Conclusion: As evidenced in the literature, outcome depends on time to operation and prognosis is impacted by age and preoperative deficit. Because of the high risk of poor outcome without treatment, SSEH should always be a diagnostic consideration in patients whose presentation is even slightly suggestive. Rapid, appropriate treatment of these patients can often lead to complete recovery of function, whereas any delay in appropriate treatment can be catastrophic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Laminectomy
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma of unknown etiology: Case report and literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this