Management and neurological outcome of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma

J Clin Neurosci. 2015 Apr;22(4):726-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2014.11.010. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


This study assesses the etiology, clinical management, and outcome of patients with spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH). SSEH is an uncommon neurosurgical emergency. We analyzed data from 10 patients (six women, four men) treated for SSEH (mean age, 63.5 years). Five patients had bleeding disorders due to anticoagulant therapy at the time of diagnosis. The initial clinical symptom in most patients was severe pain (n=8). Spinal injury was assessed using the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) scale, with six Grade A, one Grade C, and three Grade D patients. Lesions were in the cervicothoracic (n=4), thoracic (n=5), and thoracolumbar regions (n=1). Location was dorsal in seven patients and ventral in three. SSEH extension ranged from three to 15 spinal levels (mean, 6.9 levels). ASIA scale outcomes for the entire group were Grade A, n=2; Grade B, n=1; Grade C, n=1; Grade D, n=2; and Grade E, n=4. Outcomes for patients with no bleeding disorders (n=5) were Grade D, n=1; and Grade E, n=4. Outcomes for patients with bleeding disorders (n=5) were Grade A, n=2; Grade B, n=1; Grade C, n=1; and Grade D, n=1. After surgical treatment, patients improved by at least by one ASIA grade. The patients with mild neurological deficit who were treated conservatively also improved. Emergent spinal cord decompression is the only way to preserve spinal cord function in patients with severe deficit. Coagulation disorders were related to poor neurological status at admission and with poor neurological outcome. Conservative treatment was acceptable in patients with minimal neurological deficit.

Keywords: Anticoagulant therapy; Spinal cord injury; Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma; Vascular.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Decompression, Surgical*
  • Female
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Spinal / complications
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Spinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / surgery*
  • Spinal Cord / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome