Reversible coma and Duret hemorrhage after intracranial hypotension from remote lumbar spine surgery: Case report

Robert H. Bonow, James W. Bales, Ryan P. Morton, Michael R. Levitt, Fangyi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intracranial hypotension is a rare condition caused by spontaneous or iatrogenic CSF leaks that alter normal CSF dynamics. Symptoms range from mild headaches to transtentorial herniation, coma, and death. Duret hemorrhages have been reported to occur in some patients with this condition and are traditionally believed to be associated with a poor neurological outcome. A 73-year-old man with a remote history of spinal fusion presented with syncope and was found to have small subdural hematomas on head CT studies. He was managed nonoperatively and discharged with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15, only to return 3 days later with obtundation, fixed downward gaze, anisocoria, and absent cranial nerve reflexes. A CT scan showed Duret hemorrhages and subtle enlargement of the subdural hematomas, though the hematomas remained too small to account for his poor clinical condition. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine revealed a large lumbar pseudomeningocele in the area of prior fusion. His condition dramatically improved when he was placed in the Trendelenburg position and underwent repair of the pseudomeningocele. He was kept flat for 7 days and was ultimately discharged in good condition. On long-term follow-up, his only identifiable deficit was diplopia due to an internuclear ophthalmoplegia. Intracranial hypotension is a rare condition that can cause profound morbidity, including tonsillar herniation and brainstem hemorrhage. With proper identification and treatment of the CSF leak, patients can make functional recoveries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Coma
  • Duret hemorrhage
  • Intracranial hypotension
  • Lumbar spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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