Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma

Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma

This spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma in the cervical region is an uncommon cause of acute spinal cord compression.

Currently, the incidence of SSEH is expected to increase. Pain physicians must include SSEH in their differential diagnosis for patients with axial pain or radicular symptoms alone, particularly when risk factors are present 1).

The cause of bleeding in the current literature is both venous and arterial in origin. Venous bleeding owing is the commonly accepted hypothesis for the source of the hematoma because spinal epidural venous plexus have no sphincters, and thus have no protection against pressure changing 2). This theory seems to be invalid in the cervical region because the venous pressure is low. It is said that the cervical epidural hematoma has an arterial source from free anastomotic arteries in connection with radicular arteries that exist in the epidural space 3).

Acute cervical epidural hematoma is definitely a condition of neurologic emergency. Although it is a rare condition, it must be considered in nontraumatic patients with sudden onset of neurologic deficits. Patients with spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma typically present with acute onset of severe back pain, and they rapidly develop signs of compression of the spinal cord or cauda equina 4)


High index of suspicion followed by T2-weighted gradient echo sequences are particularly useful in early diagnosis. 5)

Cervical spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a serious neurosurgical pathology that often requires prompt surgical intervention.

Prompt surgical evacuation of the hematoma leads to a favorable neurological outcome, whereas delay in treatment can be disastrous. The role of conservative management needs to be proven and should be tailored on an individual basis 6)

This is a rare idiopathic condition that leads to acute onset of neurologic deficits, which if not recognized early can have catastrophic consequences.

Hines et al. from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital presented the first case in the literature of cervical disc extrusion provoking epidural hematoma and acute neurological deterioration.

A 65 year old male presented with six months of worsening signs and symptoms of cervical myelopathy. He had progressive deterioration over the course of two weeks leading to ambulatory dysfunction requiring a cane for assistance. While undergoing his medical workup in the emergency department, the patient became acutely plegic in the right lower extremity prompting emergent surgical decompression and stabilization.

Based on imaging, pathology, and intraoperative findings, it was concluded that the patient had an extruded disc segment that may have precipitated venous bleeding in the epidural space and findings of acute cervical spinal cord compression. Cervical disc extrusion may lead to venous damage, epidural hematoma, and spinal cord compression. If this unique presentation is recognized and addressed in a timely manner, patient outcomes may still be largely positive as this case demonstrates 7).

A 41-year-old male, diagnosed with SCEH, with a presenting chief complaint of cervical pain followed by progressive quadriparesis and urgency of micturition who was managed surgically.

SCEH is a rare pathologic entity. Due to the high risk of poor neurological outcome without treatment, SCEH should be a diagnostic possibility when the presentation is even slightly suggestive. Prompt surgical evacuation of the hematoma and hemostasis leads to a favorable neurological outcome, whereas delay in treatment can be disastrous 8).


A 31-year-old man who presented with acute onset of neck pain with radicular component with progressive neurologic deficit. Emergent magnetic resonance imaging revealed cervical extradural hematoma with cord compression that was promptly evacuated. Functional recovery was achieved within 48 hours. The level of preoperative neurologic deficit and its severity, as well as operative interval, are important factors significantly affecting the postoperative outcome 9)


A 28-year-old healthy man developed a sudden onset of severe neck and right shoulder pain with mild arm weakness. The MRI revealed an SSEH that was compressing his spinal cord in the right posterolateral epidural space from C2-C6. On the second hospital day, his symptoms suddenly improved, and most of the hematoma had spontaneously resolved Currently, the incidence of SSEH is expected to increase. Pain physicians must include SSEH in their differential diagnosis for patients with axial pain or radicular symptoms alone, particularly when risk factors are present 10).


A 70-year-old man presented with acute onset neck pain with a radicular component and rapidly progressive quadriparesis. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a posteriorly located cervical extradural hematoma with cord compression that was promptly evacuated. Functional recovery to near normal function occurred within 24 hours of surgery.

SSEH in its true idiopathic form is a rare pathologic entity. Because of the high risk of poor outcome without treatment, SSEH should be a diagnostic possibility when presentation is even slightly suggestive. Prompt surgical evacuation of the hematoma leads to a favorable neurological outcome, whereas delay in treatment can be disastrous. The role of conservative management needs to be proven and should be tailored on an individual basis 11)


A 25-year-old male presented with a history of sudden onset of complete quadriplegia with sensory loss below the neck along with loss of bowel and bladder control. He had no history of any constitutional symptoms. He reported 10 days later. He was managed conservatively and after two weeks of intensive rehabilitation he had complete neural recovery. The spontaneous recovery of neurological impairment is attributed to the spreading of the hematoma throughout the epidural space, thus decreasing the pressure with partial neural recovery. Conservative treatment is a fair option in young patients who present late and show neurological improvement. The neurological status on presentation will guide the further approach to management 12).


1) , 10)

Huh J, Kwak HY, Chung YN, Park SK, Choi YS. Acute Cervical Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma Presenting with Minimal Neurological Deficits: A Case Report. Anesth Pain Med. 2016 Aug 27;6(5):e40067. eCollection 2016 Oct. PubMed PMID: 27853682; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5106555.
2) , 5) , 6) , 11)

Gopalkrishnan CV, Dhakoji A, Nair S. Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma of idiopathic etiology: case report and review of literature. J Spinal Cord Med. 2012 Mar;35(2):113-7. doi: 10.1179/2045772312Y.0000000001. Epub 2012 Feb 4. PMID: 22333537; PMCID: PMC3304555.
3)

Beatty RM, Winston KR. Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma. A consideration of etiology. J Neurosurg. 1984 Jul;61(1):143-8. doi: 10.3171/jns.1984.61.1.0143. PMID: 6726389.
4) , 9)

Salehpour F, Mirzaei F, Kazemzadeh M, Alavi SAN. Spontaneous Epidural Hematoma of Cervical Spine. Int J Spine Surg. 2018 Mar 30;12(1):26-29. doi: 10.14444/5005. PMID: 30280079; PMCID: PMC6162037.
7)

Hines K, Hafazalla K, Bailey JW, Jallo J. Extruded disc causes acute cervical epidural hematoma and cord compression: a case report. Spinal Cord Ser Cases. 2021 May 21;7(1):39. doi: 10.1038/s41394-021-00403-8. PMID: 34021115.
8)

Taha MM, Elsharkawy AM, Al Menshawy HA, AlBakry A. Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma: A case report and review of literature. Surg Neurol Int. 2019 Dec 13;10:247. doi: 10.25259/SNI_543_2019. PMID: 31893148; PMCID: PMC6935966.
12)

Halim TA, Nigam V, Tandon V, Chhabra HS. Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma: report of a case managed conservatively. Indian J Orthop. 2008 Jul;42(3):357-9. doi: 10.4103/0019-5413.41863. PMID: 19753167; PMCID: PMC2739458.

Middle meningeal artery embolization for chronic subdural hematoma

Middle meningeal artery embolization for chronic subdural hematoma

middlemeningealartery.jpg

Perioperative prophylactic Middle meningeal artery embolization in the setting of surgical evacuation, via either craniotomy or subdural evacuating port system (SEPS), may help to lower the recurrence rate of cSDH 1).

It can be used safely and effectively as an alternative or adjunctive minimally invasive chronic subdural hematoma treatment in elderly and advanced elderly patients 2).

It has been proposed as a curative treatment for chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH), but evidence for the indication and timing is not definitive.

Given the encouraging results with a 91% long-term success rate in the series of Link et al., a large scale clinical trial is warranted 3).

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03307395

Middle meningeal artery embolization for chronic subdural hematoma systematic reviews.

Middle meningeal artery embolization for chronic subdural hematoma case series

A case of a 74-year-old male on aspirin with a history of recurrent symptomatic chronic right-sided subdural hematoma treated successfully with a SEPS and right middle meningeal artery embolization with poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) microparticles. The patient initially presented to the emergency department with headaches, difficulty walking, and left sided hemiparesis. CT Head showed a large chronic right-sided subdural hematoma measuring 2.7 cm thick with 1 cm of leftward shift. Patient underwent placement of a right-sided SEPS and the subdural hematoma decreased in size to 1.0 cm with 2 mm of leftward shift. The patient had resolution of headaches and neurological symptoms and was discharged home. Three months later, the patient returned to the emergency department with headache and left hand numbness. CT Head showed an acute on chronic right-sided subdural hematoma measuring 1.4 cm with 3 mm of leftward shift. Patient underwent right-sided SEPS placement. Repeat CT Head showed reduction in the subdural hematoma to 1.2 cm. The SEPS was removed and the patient had resolution of neurological symptoms. The patient then had a diagnostic cerebral angiogram with PVA microparticle embolization of the right middle meningeal artery. A SEPS was placed at the time of the angiogram to further reduce the size of the subdural hematoma.

Repeat CT Head after SEPS and middle meningeal artery embolization showed decrease in size of the subdural hematoma. Follow-up CT Head showed stability of the subdural hematoma and patient had no further neurological symptoms. Patient was discharged home.

Middle meningeal artery embolization is a useful endovascular technique for reducing the arterial supply to the membranes in chronic subdural hematomas. Middle meningeal artery embolization can reduce the recurrence rate of subdural hematomas 4).


In 1994 a rare case of chronic subdural hematoma associated with a middle meningeal arteriovenous fistula was treated by a combination of embolization and burr hole drainage. This clinical situation might be missed in this era of computed tomography, when cerebral angiography is seldom indicated for the diagnosis of neuro-traumatic diseases. We should bear in mind the possibility of this clinical situation of a chronic subdural hematoma associated with a linear skull fracture crossing the middle meningeal groove in order to avoid possible hemorrhagic complications during surgery for chronic subdural hematoma 5)


1)

Schwarz J, Carnevale JA, Goldberg JL, Ramos AD, Link TW, Knopman J. Perioperative prophylactic middle meningeal artery embolization for chronic subdural hematoma: a series of 44 cases. J Neurosurg. 2021 May 21:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2020.10.JNS202856. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34020417.
2)

Joyce E, Bounajem MT, Scoville J, Thomas AJ, Ogilvy CS, Riina HA, Tanweer O, Levy EI, Spiotta AM, Gross BA, Jankowitz BT, Cawley CM, Khalessi AA, Pandey AS, Ringer AJ, Hanel R, Ortiz RA, Langer D, Levitt MR, Binning M, Taussky P, Kan P, Grandhi R. Middle meningeal artery embolization treatment of nonacute subdural hematomas in the elderly: a multiinstitutional experience of 151 cases. Neurosurg Focus. 2020 Oct;49(4):E5. doi: 10.3171/2020.7.FOCUS20518. PMID: 33002874.
3)

Link TW, Boddu S, Paine SM, Kamel H, Knopman J. Middle Meningeal Artery Embolization for Chronic Subdural Hematoma: A Series of 60 Cases. Neurosurgery. 2019 Dec 1;85(6):801-807. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy521. PMID: 30418606.
5)

Komiyama M, Yasui T, Tamura K, Nagata Y, Fu Y, Yagura H. Chronic subdural hematoma associated with middle meningeal arteriovenous fistula treated by a combination of embolization and burr hole drainage. Surg Neurol. 1994 Oct;42(4):316-9. doi: 10.1016/0090-3019(94)90400-6. PMID: 7974127.

Steroids for chronic subdural hematoma

Since glucocorticoids have been used for treatment of chronic subdural hematoma in 1962 their role is still discussed controversially in lack of evident data. On the basis of the ascertained inflammation cycle in cSDH dexamethasone will be an ideal substance for a short lasting, concomitant treatment protocol.

Berghauser et al. stated in 2013 that the proportion of patients primarily treated with corticosteroids are increasing year by year 1)

Patients with lower grades of CSDH can be treated successfully with steroids. Female patients seem to do better with steroids 2).


In 2020 in the The New England Journal of Medicine among adults with symptomatic chronic subdural hematoma, most of whom had undergone surgery to remove their hematomas during the index admission, treatment with dexamethasone resulted in fewer favorable outcomes and more adverse events than placebo at 6 months, but fewer repeat operations were performed in the dexamethasone group. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme; Dex-CSDH ISRCTN number, ISRCTN80782810.) 3).

Surveys

Forty-two percent of surgeons never prescribe steroids and 55% prescribe them to those managed conservatively 4).

In another Canadian survey regarding neurosurgical practice of treatment of CSDH, <15% of neurosurgeons prefer using high-dose corticosteroid 5)

Current evidence implicates a potentially beneficial role of dexamethasone in the management of CSDH. However, it remains unclear whether the rate of crossover to surgery is reduced in patients treated with corticosteroids compared with those managed conservatively. A longer duration of study with detailed analysis of individual cases and appropriately randomized cohorts are necessary to draw more reliable conclusions 6)

Scerrati et al. performed a systematic review according to PRISMA criteria of the studies analyzing the nonsurgical strategies for CSDHs. They collected all papers in the English language published between 1990 and 2019 by searching different medical databases. The chosen keywords were “chronic subdural hematoma,” “conservative treatment/management,” “pharmacological treatment,” “non-surgical,” “tranexamic acid,” “dexamethasone,” “corticosteroid,” “glucocorticoid,” “middle meningeal artery,” “endovascular treatment,” and “embolization.”

The authors ultimately collected 15 articles regarding the pharmacological management of CSDHs matching the criteria, and 14 papers included the endovascular treatment.

The results showed that surgery still represents the mainstay in cases of symptomatic patients with large CSDHs; however, adjuvant and alternative therapies can be effective and safe in a carefully selected population. Their inclusion in new guidelines is advisable 7).


A meta-analysis of Holl et al. from 29019 suggested that the addition of corticosteroids to surgery might be effective in the treatment of CSDH. However, the results must be interpreted with caution in light of the serious risk of bias of the included studies. This study stresses the need for large randomized trials to investigate the use of corticosteroids in the management of CSDH 8)


In 2017 a study of Yao et al. had no enough evidence to support DX use as an effective alternation to surgical therapy. But adjuvant DX use may facilitate the surgical therapy by reducing chronic subdural hematoma recurrence. Further study focusing on adjuvant DX was required 9)

Among adults with symptomatic chronic subdural hematoma, most of whom had undergone surgery to remove their hematomas during the index admission, treatment with dexamethasone resulted in fewer favorable outcomes and more adverse events than placebo at 6 months, but fewer repeat operations were performed in the dexamethasone group. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme; Dex-CSDH ISRCTN number, ISRCTN80782810.) 10).

see DECSA trial.

see SUCRE trial.

A study is designed as a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial 820 patients who are operated for cSDH and from the age of 25 years are included after obtaining informed consent. They are randomized for administration of dexamethasone (16-16-12-12-8-4 mg/d) or placebo (maltodextrin) during the first 48 hours after surgery. The type I error is 5% and the type II error is 20%. The primary endpoint is the reoperation within 12 weeks postoperative.

This study tests whether dexamethasone administered over 6 days is a safe and potent agent in relapse prevention for evacuated cSDH 11).

Mebberson et al. presented an interim analysis of the first registered prospective randomised placebo-controlled trial (PRPCT) of adjuvant DX on RR and outcome after CSDH surgery with post-operative drainage. Participants were randomised to either placebo or a reducing DX regime over 2 weeks, with CSDH evacuation and post-operative drainage. Post-operative mortality (POMT) and RR were determined at 30 days and 6 months; modified Rankin Score (mRS) at discharge and 6 months. Post-operative morbidity (POMB) and adverse events (AEs) were determined at 30 days. Interim analysis at approximately 50% estimated sample size was performed (n = 47). Recurrences were not observed with DX: only with placebo (0/23 [0%] v 5/24 [20.83%], P = 0.049). There was no significant between-group differences in POMT, POMB, LOS, mRS or AEs. CONCLUSIONS: In this first registered PRPCT, interim analysis suggested that adjuvant DX with post-operative drainage is both safe and may significantly decrease recurrences. A 12.5% point between-groups difference may be reasonable to power a final sample size of approximately n = 89. Future studies could consider adjuvant DX for longer than the arbitrarily-chosen 2 weeks 12).


Twenty patients with imaging-confirmed CSDH were recruited from a single center and randomized to receive dexamethasone (12 mg/day for 3 weeks followed by tapering) or placebo as a conservative treatment. Patients were followed for 6 months and the rate of success of conservative treatment with dexamethasone versus placebo was measured. Parameters such as hematoma thickness and clinical changes were also compared before and after treatment with chi-square tests. Adverse events and complications were documented.

Results: During the 6-month follow-up, one of ten patients treated with corticosteroids had to undergo surgical drainage and three of ten patients were treated surgically after placebo treatment. At the end of the study, all remaining patients had complete radiological resolution. No significant differences were observed in terms of hematoma thickness profile and impression of change; however, patients experienced more severe side effects when treated with steroids as compared with placebo. Dexamethasone contributed to many serious adverse events.

Given the small sample size, these preliminary results have not shown a clear beneficial effect of dexamethasone against placebo in our patients. However, the number of secondary effects reported was much greater for corticosteroids, and dexamethasone treatment was responsible for significant complications 13).

Sunet al. prospectively studied a group of 30 patients, who were managed non-operatively: 26 patients were treated with dexamethasone (Group 1) and four patients expectantly (Group 4). Nineteen patients (73%) from Group 1 were confused or had focal neurological deficits on admission. The mean maximum thickness of the CSDH was 12 mm. Only one of these cases (4%) required surgical drainage 6 weeks after steroid therapy. One patient died of an unrelated stroke (mortality = 4%). Two patients (8%) were left severely disabled. No significant complication from steroid therapy was documented. Out of the 85 surgically treated patients, 69 patients underwent surgical drainage in addition to steroid therapy (Group 2). Thirteen patients were treated with burr-hole drainage only (Group 3). The mean maximum thickness of the CSDH for these two groups were both 16 mm. Comparing with group 1, the redrainage rate of Group 2 [4% (3/69, p = 1)] and that of Group 3 [15% (2/13, p = 0.253)] were not significantly different. 50% of patients in Group 4 (2/4, p = 0.039) required delayed surgical drainage. The mortality rates of Groups 2, 3 and 4 were 3% (2/69, p = 1), 15% (2/13, p = 0.253) and 50% (2/4, p = 0.039), respectively. Our results suggest that steroid treatment in a selected group of patients is a good option, particularly in patients with co-morbidity 14).


1)

Berghauser Pont LM, Dippel DW, Verweij BH, Dirven CM, Dammers R. Ambivalence among neurologists and neurosurgeons on the treatment of chronic subdural hematoma: a national survey. Acta Neurol Belg. 2013 Mar;113(1):55-9. doi: 10.1007/s13760-012-0130-1. Epub 2012 Sep 14. PMID: 22975837.
2)

Thotakura AK, Marabathina NR. Nonsurgical Treatment of Chronic Subdural Hematoma with Steroids. World Neurosurg. 2015 Dec;84(6):1968-72. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.08.044. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26342776.
3) , 10)

Hutchinson PJ, Edlmann E, Bulters D, Zolnourian A, Holton P, Suttner N, Agyemang K, Thomson S, Anderson IA, Al-Tamimi YZ, Henderson D, Whitfield PC, Gherle M, Brennan PM, Allison A, Thelin EP, Tarantino S, Pantaleo B, Caldwell K, Davis-Wilkie C, Mee H, Warburton EA, Barton G, Chari A, Marcus HJ, King AT, Belli A, Myint PK, Wilkinson I, Santarius T, Turner C, Bond S, Kolias AG; British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative; Dex-CSDH Trial Collaborators. Trial of Dexamethasone for Chronic Subdural Hematoma. N Engl J Med. 2020 Dec 31;383(27):2616-2627. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2020473. Epub 2020 Dec 16. PMID: 33326713.
4)

Santarius T, Lawton R, Kirkpatrick PJ, Hutchinson PJ. The management of primary chronic subdural haematoma: a questionnaire survey of practice in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Br J Neurosurg. 2008 Aug;22(4):529-34. doi: 10.1080/02688690802195381. PMID: 18686063.
5)

Cenic A, Bhandari M, Reddy K. Management of chronic subdural hematoma: a national survey and literature review. Can J Neurol Sci. 2005 Nov;32(4):501-6. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100004510. PMID: 16408582.
6)

Petralia CCT, Manivannan S, Shastin D, Sharouf F, Elalfy O, Zaben M. Effect of Steroid Therapy on Risk of Subsequent Surgery for Neurologically Stable Chronic Subdural Hemorrhage-Retrospective Cohort Study and Literature Review. World Neurosurg. 2020 Jun;138:e35-e41. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.01.160. Epub 2020 Feb 27. PMID: 32113994.
7)

Scerrati A, Visani J, Ricciardi L, Dones F, Rustemi O, Cavallo MA, De Bonis P. To drill or not to drill, that is the question: nonsurgical treatment of chronic subdural hematoma in the elderly. A systematic review. Neurosurg Focus. 2020 Oct;49(4):E7. doi: 10.3171/2020.7.FOCUS20237. PMID: 33002869.
8)

Holl DC, Volovici V, Dirven CMF, van Kooten F, Miah IP, Jellema K, Peul WC, van der Gaag NA, Kho KH, den Hertog HM, Dammers R, Lingsma HF. Corticosteroid treatment compared with surgery in chronic subdural hematoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2019 Jun;161(6):1231-1242. doi: 10.1007/s00701-019-03881-w. Epub 2019 Apr 10. PMID: 30972566.
9)

Yao Z, Hu X, Ma L, You C. Dexamethasone for chronic subdural haematoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2017 Nov;159(11):2037-2044. doi: 10.1007/s00701-017-3309-7. Epub 2017 Sep 1. PMID: 28865006.
11)

Emich S, Richling B, McCoy MR, Al-Schameri RA, Ling F, Sun L, Wang Y, Hitzl W. The efficacy of dexamethasone on reduction in the reoperation rate of chronic subdural hematoma – the DRESH study: straightforward study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2014 Jan 6;15(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-6. PubMed PMID: 24393328; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3891985.
12)

Mebberson K, Colditz M, Marshman LAG, Thomas PAW, Mitchell PS, Robertson K. Prospective randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical study of adjuvant dexamethasone with surgery for chronic subdural haematoma with post-operative subdural drainage: Interim analysis. J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Jan;71:153-157. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2019.08.095. Epub 2019 Sep 3. PMID: 31492485.
13)

Prud’homme M, Mathieu F, Marcotte N, Cottin S. A Pilot Placebo Controlled Randomized Trial of Dexamethasone for Chronic Subdural Hematoma. Can J Neurol Sci. 2016 Mar;43(2):284-90. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2015.393. Epub 2016 Feb 8. PMID: 26853325.
14)

Sun TF, Boet R, Poon WS. Non-surgical primary treatment of chronic subdural haematoma: Preliminary results of using dexamethasone. Br J Neurosurg. 2005 Aug;19(4):327-33. doi: 10.1080/02688690500305332. PMID: 16455539.
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