Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma in children

Hema Patel, Joel C. Boaz, John P. Phillips, Bhuwan P. Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is rare in children. It is usually confined to the dorsal epidural space. Ventral spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is rarer, with only two previous reports. The authors present three children, two with dorsal and one with ventral spinal epidural hematoma, and review the literature. No etiology of the hematoma was found in the authors' patients and there was no history of trauma. A review of 24 patients of children younger than 18 years of age reported in the literature and the authors' three patients revealed that the cervicothoracic region was the most common site of SSEH, the mode of onset was frequently subacute, and there was no male preponderance as has been reported in adults. We found that the initial symptoms were often nonspecific, leading to a delay in diagnosis, especially in younger children. Follow-up data revealed that 15 of the 27 patients recovered completely, 11 had residual neurologic deficits, and one patient died. Irritability and neck pain with restricted movements of the cervical spine in an afebrile child may be early signs of SSEH and often precede onset of neurologic deficits by several hours to days. These signs should alert the clinician to consider spinal epidural hematoma and the need for urgent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine for early diagnosis and treatment to minimize morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-307
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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