CASE

Fatal outcome of cervical myelopathy caused by fibrocartilaginous embolism. Rare cause of spinal vascular damage.

Fibrocartilaginous embolism is a rare cause of ischemic myelopathy. Authors report a case of a 39-year-old woman with progressive tetraparesis and severe autonomic dysfunction. Despite of the detailed examinations, the definite diagnosis was verified by autopsy. The patient was admitted because of progressive pain and numbness of the upper extremities and tetraparesis. Hypotonic muscles of the lower extremities with mild tetraparesis were observed. Magnetic resonance imaging showed an intramedullary lesion at the level of the cervical V-VII vertebral. Patient's tetraparesis worsened gradually to plegia with urinary retention. Expansive, rapidly progressing multiple decubiti developed, which were resistant to therapy. In spite of the complex therapy, the patient died. No internal disease was found to explain the death by autopsy. Multiple subacute infarctions of the cervical myelon (involving the lateral columns as well) in the territory of the anterior spinal artery were verified by neuropathological examination. The occluded vessels were filled by a material containing cartilaginous cells, while signs of atherosclerosis or thrombosis were not present. Cartilaginous embolism of spinal arteries was diagnosed.
as reported in: Folyovich A, Havas L, Vadász G, Fehér Á, Vadasdi K, Szabó Z, Tóth K, Béres-Molnár KA, Toldi G. Ideggyogy Sz. 2021 May:74(5-6):207-210. doi: 10.18071/isz.74.0207.