A spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma mimicking a stroke - A case report.

A spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma (SCEH) is a rare occurrence. It usually presents with quadriparesis, but it may present with hemiparesis or hemiplegia and can easily be misdiagnosed as stroke. We present a case of stroke mimicking SCEH with hemiparesis worsened after tissue plasminogen activator therapy (tPA) followed by emergency cervical decompression laminectomy. A 63-year-old female presented to the emergency department with sudden onset of posterior neck and left shoulder pain with the right side hemiparesis. On neurological examination, the patient had motor power of the right upper and lower limb of 2/5 Medical Research Council, and her whole left extremities were intact. Her medical history was unremarkable for trauma, hemorrhagic diathesis, or anticoagulation therapy. A head computed tomography was ordered ruling out intracranial hemorrhage. Assuming an acute ischemic stroke as the most likely diagnosis, alteplase (tPA) was administered 3 h after symptoms onset, however without any improvement in patient symptoms. A cervical magnetic resonance was performed revealing a right paramedian epidural mass-like lesion between C3-C6. The patient underwent cervical laminectomy C3-C6 with evacuation of epidural hematoma with significant clinical status improvement after surgery. tPA treatment is frequently used as first-line therapy for acute ischemic stroke. Therefore, physicians should be aware of the potential for the SCEH in patients presenting with hemiparesis, as tPA administration may increase cervical hematoma leading to clinical deterioration. With this case, we intended to warn about SCEH as a rare but possible entity, since its early recognition and prompt clinical intervention may improve neurological outcomes.
as reported in: Teles P, Correia JP, Pappamikail L, Lourenço A, Romero C, Lopes F, Almeida GN, Abreu P. Surg Neurol Int. 2020:11:157. doi: 10.25259/SNI_161_2020.