Neurologic complications of systemic cancer.
Neurologic complications occur frequently in patients with cancer. After routine chemotherapy, these complications are the most common reason for hospitalization of these patients. Brain metastases are the most prevalent complication, affecting 20 to 40 percent of cancer patients and typically presenting as headache, altered mental status or focal weakness. Other common metastatic complications are epidural spinal cord compression and leptomeningeal metastases. Cord compression can be a medical emergency, and the rapid institution of high-dose corticosteroid therapy, radiation therapy or surgical decompression is often necessary to preserve neurologic function. Leptomeningeal metastases should be suspected when a patient presents with neurologic dysfunction in more than one site. Metabolic encephalopathy is the common nonmetastatic cause of altered mental status in cancer patients. Cerebrovascular complications such as stroke or hemorrhage can occur in a variety of tumor-related conditions, including direct invasion, coagulation disorders, chemotherapy side effects and nonbacterial thrombotic endocarditis. Radiation therapy is the most commonly employed palliative measure for metastases. Chemotherapy or surgical removal of tumors is used in selected patients. (+info)
Neurological complications of neurofibromatosis type 1 in adulthood.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a genetic disease with a wide range of neurological manifestations. To examine these, and to evaluate neurological morbidity in adulthood of patients with NF1, we studied a hospital-based series of 158 patients that included 138 adult patients aged >18 years and 20 children. NF1 evaluation included a multidisciplinary clinical and a clinically oriented radiological investigation. Neurological events occurring during childhood (in both children and adults of the series) and adulthood were recorded. One or several neurological manifestations have been observed in 55% of patients (adults and children) (n = 87). These included: headache (28 patients); hydrocephalus (7); epilepsy (5); lacunar stroke (1); white matter disease (1); intraspinal neurofibroma (3); facial palsy (1); radiculopathy (5); and polyneuropathy (2). Tumours included: optic pathway tumours (20); meningioma (2); cerebral glioma (3); and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (6). Life-threatening complications were observed in five adults and included four malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours and one meningioma. Pain was the leading symptom in 11 adults and was related to malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours, complications of intraspinal neurofibromas, subcutaneous neurofibromas and peripheral nerve neurofibromas. NF1 in adults was not associated with other disabling or life-threatening neurological complications. Symptomatic optic pathway tumours, cerebral gliomas, symptomatic aqueductal stenosis and spinal compression due to intraspinal NF were observed exclusively during childhood. In this series, the predominant neurological features of adults with NF1 were chronic pain and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours. (+info)
A clinico-pathological study of cervical myelopathy in rheumatoid arthritis: post-mortem analysis of two cases.
Two patients who developed cervical myelopathy secondary to rheumatoid arthritis were analyzed post mortem. One patient had anterior atlanto-axial subluxation (AAS) combined with subaxial subluxation (SS), and the other had vertical subluxation (VS) combined with SS. In the patient with AAS, the posterior aspect of the spinal cord demonstrated severe constriction at the C2 segment, which arose from dynamic osseous compression by the C1 posterior arch. A histological cross-section of the spinal cord at the segment was characterized by distinct necrosis in the posterior white columns and the gray matter. In the patient with VS, the upper cervical cord and medulla oblongata showed angulation over the invaginated odontoid process, whereas no significant pathological changes were observed. At the level of SS, the spinal cord was pinched and compressed between the upper corner of the vertebral body and the lower edge of the lamina. Histologically, demyelination and gliosis were observed in the posterior and lateral white columns. (+info)
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy in elderly people: a high incidence of conduction block at C3-4 or C4-5.
OBJECTIVES: To precisely localise the site of conduction block in elderly patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy in the presence of multilevel compression shown by MRI. METHODS: A total of 44 patients aged 65 and older underwent serial intervertebral recording of spinal somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) from either the intervertebral disc or the ligamentum flavum after epidural stimulation. The site of conduction block identified by abrupt reduction in size of the negative peak was designated as the 0 level with the other levels numbered in order of distance assigning a minus sign caudally. RESULTS: A single site of focal conduction block was disclosed in 42 patients, 23 (55%) at C3-4, 17 (40%) at C4-5, and two (5%) at C5-6. At these levels (0), the amplitude of the negative component was reduced (p<0.0001) to 29% and the area to 22%, with a concomitant increase (p<0.0001) of the initial positive component to 150% in amplitude and 293% in area as compared to the-2 level which was taken as the baseline (100%). CONCLUSIONS: A high incidence (95%) of focal conduction block at C3-4 or C4-5 with normal conduction at C5-6 and C6-7 characterises cervical spondylotic myelopathy in elderly people. Incremental SSEP studies documenting the site of conduction block will help exclude clinically silent cord compression, directing the surgical intervention to the appropriate level of concern. (+info)
Upregulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha transport across the blood-brain barrier after acute compressive spinal cord injury.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) is a cytokine that is involved in the inflammatory process after CNS injury and is implicated in neuroregeneration. A saturable transport system for TNF located at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is responsible for the limited entry of TNF from blood to the CNS in normal mice. After partial disruption of the BBB by compression of the lumbar spinal cord, permeability to TNF was increased not only in the lumbar spinal cord but also in brain and distal spinal cord segments, where the BBB remained intact. The increase in the entry of TNF to the CNS followed a biphasic temporal pattern, with a first peak immediately after injury and a second peak starting on day 3; these changes lasted longer than the mere disruption of the BBB. The increased entry of TNF was abolished by addition of excess unlabeled TNF, showing that the transport system for TNF remained saturable after spinal cord injury (SCI) and providing evidence that the enhanced entry of TNF could not be explained by diffusion or leakage. This study adds strong support for our concept that the saturable transport system for TNF across the BBB can be upregulated in the diseased state, and it suggests that the BBB is actively involved in the modulation of the processes of degeneration and regeneration after SCI. (+info)
Unusual presentation of spinal cord compression related to misplaced pedicle screws in thoracic scoliosis.
Utilization of thoracic pedicle screws is controversial, especially in the treatment of scoliosis. We present a case of a 15-year-old girl seen 6 months after her initial surgery for scoliosis done elsewhere. She complained of persistent epigastric pain, tremor of the right foot at rest, and abnormal feelings in her legs. Clinical examination revealed mild weakness in the right lower extremity, a loss of thermoalgic discrimination, and a forward imbalance. A CT scan revealed at T8 and T10 that the right pedicle screws were misplaced by 4 mm in the spinal canal. At the time of the revision surgery the somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP) returned to normal after screw removal. The clinical symptoms resolved 1 month after the revision. The authors conclude that after pedicle instrumentation at the thoracic level a spinal cord compression should be looked for in case of subtle neurologic findings such as persistent abdominal pain, mild lower extremity weakness, tremor at rest, thermoalgic discrimination loss, or unexplained imbalance. (+info)
Successful conservative treatment of rheumatoid subaxial subluxation resulting in improvement of myelopathy, reduction of subluxation, and stabilisation of the cervical spine. A report of two cases.
OBJECTIVE: To report the efficacy of conservative treatment with cervical traction and immobilisation with a Halo vest, in two consecutive rheumatoid arthritis patients with progressive cervical myelopathy caused by subaxial subluxation. METHODS: Description of neurological symptoms and signs and findings in plain radiography (PR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine before and after treatment of the subaxial subluxation by traction and immobilisation with a Halo vest during four months. RESULTS: During four months of traction and immobilisation neurological examination showed a considerable improvement of the signs and symptoms of cervical myelopathy. Afterwards PR and MRI of the cervical spine showed reduction of the subaxial subluxation. Eventually firm stabilisation was obtained in both patients without surgery of the cervical spine. CONCLUSION: Cervical traction and immobilisation with a Halo vest can be considered as an independent conservative treatment in rheumatoid arthritis patients with cervical myelopathy caused by subaxial subluxation. (+info)
The value of MR imaging in differentiating between hard and soft cervical disc disease: a comparison with intraoperative findings.
The aim of this study is to assess the accuracy of MRI alone in the differentiation of soft cervical disc protrusion from osteophytic compression in cervical disc disease. In a retrospective study, the MRI scans of 41 patients with cervical disc disease, who had previously undergone surgery, were presented to three independent observers, randomly on two different occasions, to identify the accuracy of the diagnosis of the presence of hard or soft disc or both as a cause of compression. The observers (two neurosurgeons and one neuroradiologist) were not involved with the treatment of the cases at any stage and were unaware of the surgical findings. Their observations were compared with those of the surgeon recorded at operation. The intra-observer agreement was poor for diagnosis into three categories as hard or soft disc or both. In distinguishing between the presence or absence of hard disc, there was moderate to good (Kappa = 0.6) intra observer and fair to moderate (Kappa = 0.4) interobserver agreement. The sensitivity of diagnosis of a hard disc was high (87%) but specificity was low (44%), due to the overestimation of the presence of hard disc. There was a significantly higher incidence of hard disc in the elderly age group (76% over the fifth decade, P = 0.0073). It is concluded that MRI alone is not a very efficient diagnostic tool in distinguishing between hard and soft disc in the cervical disc disease. (+info)