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August 1996

Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma: Another Neurologic Complication of Cocaine?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, New York Medical College—Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(8):819-821. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550080145023

Objectives:  To describe a patient with a spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma associated wth cocaine use and to present issues related to pathogenesis and management of this potential complication.

Design:  Case report.

Setting:  Municipal hospital.

Case:  A spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma developed at the thoracic level in a 62-year-old man in association with cocaine use. Clinical, laboratory, and radiologic data are presented.

Main Outcome and Results:  The patient was treated medically with intravenous and oral dexamethasone sodium phosphate. His neurologic status gradually improved during a 12-day hospitalization.

Conclusion:  Cocaine use should be considered in the evaluation of spontaneous spinal epidural hemorrhage.

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