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Original Contributions
August 3, 1964

Extramedullary Hematopoiesis, Mediastinal Masses, and Spinal Cord Compression

Author Affiliations

Gainesville, Fla

From the departments of medicine and surgery of the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Sorsdahl is presently fellow in cardiovascular radiology at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. Dr. Taylor was formerly instructor in neurosurgery, University of Florida, and is presently in San Francisco. Dr. Noyes is assistant professor of medicine, University of Florida.

JAMA. 1964;189(5):343-347. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070050009002

Extramedullary hematopoiesis presented as posterior mediastinal masses in two brothers with thalassemia intermedia. In one patient, acute spinal cord compression developed secondary to epidural hematopoiesis. Laminectomy resulted in complete return of function. The characteristic x-ray picture of the hematopoietic tumors is that of soft, multilobular, paravertebral masses between the sixth and twelfth thoracic vertebrae without evidence of bony erosion. The preferable diagnostic procedure is needle biopsy under direct vision because of the vascularity of the tumor and associated ease of hemorrhage. While surgical therapy is necessary for relief of acute problems such as cord compression, radiation therapy may be effective in relieving minor symptoms.