Background: Symptoms of epidural compression (SEC) in children with neuroblastoma (particularly infants) may be misinterpreted, leading to delay in diagnosis. Patients and Methods: Clinical, imaging and follow-up data of 34 infants with neuroblastoma and SEC diagnosed between 2000 and 2011 at Italian AIEOP centers were retrieved and reviewed. Results: Median age at initial SEC was 104 days (IQR 47-234). Main symptoms included motor deficit (85.3%), pain (38.2%), bladder and bowel dysfunctions (20.6% each). In the symptom-diagnosis interval (S-DI) (median, 12 days; IQR 7-34), the frequency of grade 3 motor deficit increased from 11.8% to 44.1% and that of bladder dysfunction from 20.6% to 32.4%. S-DI was significantly longer (P=0.011) for patients developing grade 3 motor deficit. First treatment of SEC was neurosurgery in 14 patients, and chemotherapy in 20. SEC regressed in 11 patients (32.3%), improved in 9 (26.5%), and remained stable in 14 (41.2%), without treatment-related differences. Median follow-up was 82 months. At last visit, 11 patients (32.3%) were sequelae-free while 23 (67.7%) had sequelae, including motor deficit (55.9%), bladder (50.0%) and bowel dysfunctions (28.4%), and spinal abnormalities (38.2%). Sequelae were rated severe in 50% of patients. Severe sequelae scores were more frequent in patients presenting with spinal canal invasion >66% (P=0.039) and grade 3 motor deficit (P=0.084). Conclusions: Both neurosurgery and chemotherapy provide unsatisfactory results once paraplegia has been established. Sequelae developed in the majority of study patients and were severe in a half of them. Greater awareness by parents and physicians regarding SEC is warranted.
- Epidural compression
- Late effects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health