Authors: Changyi Wu et al
Published in BMC Anesthesiol. 2014;14(100)
Background Paraplegia associated with epidural anesthesia or caused by intramedullary spinal tuberculoma is rare but catastrophic. We present a case of paraplegia following epidural anesthesia in a patient with an undiagnosed intramedullary spinal tuberculoma.
Case presentation A 42-year-old man developed paraplegia after an open cholecystectomy under epidural anesthesia. Spinal cord infarction, acute transverse myelitis, and intramedullary neoplasms were ruled out by histopathologic examination, and intramedullary spinal tuberculoma at the T6–T7 level was identified. Despite surgical treatment and subsequent antituberculous therapy, the patient retained some disability attributable to the delay in diagnosis.
Conclusion Physicians should be aware of coexisting disease as a cause of paraplegia following procedures using epidural anesthesia. Magnetic resonance imaging is the most sensitive diagnostic test, although it is still difficult to differentiate spinal cord infarction, myelitis, intramedullary spinal tuberculoma, and neoplasms from imaging features alone.