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Spinal Cord Hemorrhage.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Spinal cord hemorrhages are rare conditions that can be classified based on the primary location of bleeding into intramedullary (hematomyelia), subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), subdural hemorrhage, and epidural hemorrhage. We conducted a literature review to better understand the presenting symptoms, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of spinal cord hemorrhages.

METHODS: We performed a literature search using PubMed with the key words spinal hemorrhage, hematomyelia, spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage, spinal subdural hematoma, and spinal epidural hematoma RESULTS: Most commonly, spinal hematomas present with acute onset of pain and myelopathy but a more insidious course also may occur. Spinal SAH may be especially difficult as it may cause cerebral symptoms. The etiologies vary based on the type (location). The most common causes are trauma, iatrogenic causes, vascular malformations, and bleeding diatheses. Management is often aimed toward rapid surgical decompression and correction of the underlying etiology if possible. Conservative management, including administration of large doses of corticosteroids, reversal of anticoagulation, and close monitoring, has been used as bridging for surgical procedure or as the mainstay of treatment for patients with mild or improving symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: The variable and overlapping presentations of spinal cord hemorrhages make the diagnosis challenging. Maintaining high levels of clinical suspicion and utilizing magnetic resonance imaging may help in making the right diagnosis. Future studies should aim to create standardized outcome grading system and management guidelines for patients with spinal hemorrhage.

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