Background: Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) with a spinal origin is a rare clinical entity. The most common source of SAH is an arteriovenous malformation. Only six cases of spinal hemangioblastomas causing SAH have been reported.
Case description: This 48-year-old man had experienced severe headache 12 years earlier, which was diagnosed as SAH by computed tomography (CT) scan and lumbar puncture. However, cerebral angiography could not detect either aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation. Thereafter, he spent an uneventful life until he was incidentally diagnosed with a cervical tumor on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study for Meniere's disease. The tumor was situated at the cervicomedullary junction, and fed by the left vertebral artery. Histologic findings of the tumor showed features typical of hemangioblastoma.
Conclusions: We describe a case of cervical spinal extramedullary hemangioblastoma with a past history of SAH. In our case, the SAH of 12 years ago perhaps occurred from the cervicomedullary junction hemangioblastoma. Since the etiology of SAH could not be detected at the first angiography, not only follow-up reangiography, but also MRI of the spinal cord and spinal angiography could have played an important role.