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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 May;73(5):490-2.

Brain abscess: a rare complication of halo usage.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA.


The halo traction device for cervical spine immobilization has few complications and is routinely used for spinal cord injured patients. The following case report describes a patient with lower cervical and upper thoracic fractures stabilized with a halo. She completed a two-month rehabilitation program without complications, but developed frontal headaches and vomiting within one or two days of discharge. A head CT revealed a right frontal isodense mass consistent with a brain abscess. The abscess was resected surgically, and she was placed on antibiotics. Mortality rates from brain abscesses are as high as 24%, making a prompt diagnosis critical. This case report describes an unusual etiology for a brain abscess, and it discusses the appropriate work-up in a neurologically impaired patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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