Idiopathic Cervical Hematomyelia in an Infant: Spinal Cord Injury without Radiographic Abnormality Caused by a Trivial Trauma? Case Report and Review of the Literature

Pietro Fiaschi, Mariasavina Severino, Giuseppe Marcello Ravegnani, Gianluca Piatelli, Alessandro Consales, Andrea Accogli, Valeria Capra, Armando Cama, Marco Pavanello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Spontaneous or idiopathic intramedullary bleeding is a very rare event in pediatric patients. This diagnosis requires an extended clinical, laboratory, and radiologic work-up to rule out all potential causes of hematomyelia. However, children may present with hematomyelia or spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality even after a minor trauma. Case Description A 15-month-old girl presented with a 24-hour history of progressive neurologic deficits. A trivial trauma had occurred a few days before the clinical onset. Head computed tomography scan and craniospinal magnetic resonance imaging revealed an isolated hemorrhagic central medullary lesion extending from the obex to C3 level. No underlying causes of intramedullary bleeding were identified. In the absence of obvious vascular abnormalities, the patient underwent an urgent occipitocervical decompression with hematoma evacuation. Postoperatively, the patient's motor symptoms rapidly resolved, and she was discharged with cervical collar immobilization. Conclusions We discuss the differential diagnosis of intramedullary bleeding in children, focusing on the diagnostic protocol and therapeutic options in this age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016



  • Children
  • CT
  • Idiopathic hematomyelia
  • MRI
  • Spontaneous intramedullary hemorrhage
  • Trivial trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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