Introduction: Hypertrophic pachymeningitis is an infrequent condition which starts with a thickening of the dura mater and whose pathogenesis is unknown. We present two new cases of unknown aetiology.
Clinical case: Case 1. A 53 year old man complained of occipital headache, tinnitus and deafness since February 1981. In October 1981 he was admitted to hospital with a worse headache, perio-orbital pain, dysgeusia and ipsilateral peripheral facial palsy. In December he had generalized tonic-clonic seizures and paralysis of the VII and XI right cranial nerves and IX, X and XII left cranial nerves. In February 1982 he developed right trigeminal neuralgia. He was readmitted in November 1983 with continuous headache, vomiting and a behavior disorder. On CT there was marked attenuation of the posterior dura mater, which the neurosurgical department considered unsuitable for biopsy. He died in March 1985. On necropsy there was hypertrophic pachymeningitis. Case 2. A 62 year old patient consulted in November 1995 complaining of right hypoacusia for the past six months, progressively accompanied by ipsilateral paralysis of the II, IV, VI, VII and VIII cranial nerves but with no other alterations on physical examination. Analytical and serological investigations were normal. Cranial MR showed an extraparenchymatous infiltrating lesion in the middle cranial fossa. Biopsy was decided on when no clinical improvement was seen with corticosteroid treatment. The pathologist reported hypertrophic pachymeningitis. Treatment was started with cyclophosphamide in monthly doses and the condition has remained stable to date.
Conclusion: With these two cases we wish to establish a pathogenic relation between the Tolosa-Hunt syndrome and orbital pseudotumor and show the role played by immunosuppressive treatment in the control of hypertrophic pachymeningitis.