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J Neurosurg Spine. 2005 Jan;2(1):79-82.

Rare cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage: spinal meningeal carcinomatosis. Case report.

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  • 1Departments of Neurosurgery and Pathology (Cytology), School of Medicine, University of Hacettepe, Ankara, Turkey.


Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) of spinal origin is a rare entity accounting for approximately 1% of all cases of SAH. Its most frequent causes are trauma and vascular malformations. Although primary spinal tumors, especially ependymomas, are also relatively common causes, SAH secondary to a metastatic spinal tumor arising from outside the central nervous system is an extremely rare condition; only one case has been reported in the literature. The authors present a case of spinal meningeal carcinomatosis secondary to cutaneous malignant melanoma in which the patient presented with only symptoms of SAH. Although very rare, this case underscores several factors. 1) Spinal SAH due to spinal metastases should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with previously known malignancy. 2) Spinal SAH may manifest without paraparesis or sensory deficit. 3) Magnetic resonance imaging of the spinal cord may be important to determine the source of SAH in patients in whom four-vessel cerebral angiography demonstrates no abnormal findings.

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