Cerebellar and brainstem infarction as a complication of CT-guided transforaminal cervical nerve root block

Skeletal Radiol. 2007 May;36(5):449-52. doi: 10.1007/s00256-006-0215-0. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


A 60-year-old man with a 4-year history of intractable neck pain and radicular pain in the C5 nerve root distribution presented to our department for a CT-guided transforaminal left C5 nerve root block. He had had a similar procedure on the right 2 months previously, and had significant improvement of his symptoms with considerable pain relief. On this occasion he was again accepted for the procedure after the risks and potential complications had been explained. Under CT guidance, a 25G spinal needle was introduced and after confirmation of the position of the needle, steroid was injected. Immediately the patient became unresponsive, and later developed a MR-proven infarct affecting the left vertebral artery (VA) territory. This is the first report of a major complication of a cervical root injection under CT guidance reported in the literature. We present this case report and the literature review of the potential complications of this procedure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Stem Infarctions / diagnosis*
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / etiology*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / etiology*
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*