Unexpected finding of barium sulphate on the surface of a microspinal catheter

Donatella De Amici, Felice Ramajoli, Piero Ceriana, Annalia Asti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During a study with a scanning electron microscope to evaluate the structure of microspinal catheter after its removal from subarachnoid space, we found an unusual case. The observation with the microscope of the tip of a catheter removed at the end of an operation for hip replacement in a old female showed the presence of grounded particles with a crystal shape covering the outer surface. Further analysis of this material with an Energy-Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) showed that it was barium. The patient performed a large bowel barium enema 8 months earlier for a painful syndrome to the lower abdomen. Authors rule out the contamination from the skin and suggest two possible mechanisms of passage of barium from blood to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and so to the surface of the catheter. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-191
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Anesthesia
  • Barium sulphate
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Microspinal catheter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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