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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2005 Jun;31(3):247-57.

Epidural haemorrhage of the cervical spinal cord: a post-mortem artefact?

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  • 1Division of Forensic Pathology, University of Leicester, Robert Kilpatrick Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX, UK.


Spinal epidural haemorrhage is a rare entity that occurs uncommonly in adults and rarely in children. It has a typical clinical presentation, although to date, the cause for the majority of cases remains unknown. We present a series of cases where epidural haemorrhage was identified at post-mortem, principly to the cervical cord, in cases outside the age range usually reported for clinical epidural haemorrhage, and with no underlying pathology to account for the finding. We present a hypothesis for a post-mortem cause for this finding and consider that, in the absence of any other identifiable causation, then this is a post-mortem occurrence similar to that of the Prinsloo-Gordon artefact of the soft tissues of the neck. This finding must be interpreted with care so as not to make the mistaken diagnosis of a nonaccidental head injury based on its finding, especially in the absence of intracranial, cranial nerve, optic nerve or eye pathologies.

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