The journal of spinal cord medicine 2016 12 05() 1-4
Increasing the mean arterial pressure (MAP) is an accepted treatment modality to minimize the risk for irreversible neurologic damage secondary to spinal cord ischemia. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a rare complication occurring after transplantation surgery, in persons having an autoimmune disorder or after abrupt increases in blood pressure of various etiologies.
Retrospective evaluation of medical records.
A 68-year-old female with long-standing diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis (treated with methotrexate) presented with bilateral upper extremity weakness and numbness developing several days after a motor vehicle accident. Physical examination confirmed decreased upper extremity motor strength and decreased sensation to light touch and pinprick in the C5-C6 dermatomal distribution. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated C5-C6 subluxation with spinal cord compression. The patient had traction applied and mean arterial pressures were elevated greater than 85 mmg. The following day the patient underwent anterior and posterior cervical spine fusion and decompression. Immediately post-operatively, the patient developed status epilepticus. Head MRI revealed areas of high T2 signal intensity in the bilateral occipital lobes, consistent with a diagnosis of PRES. Two weeks later, the patient had resolution of her symptoms and resolution of PRES on imaging.
This is the first report of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome secondary to therapeutic blood pressure increase in the setting of cervical spine fracture with neurological deficits. The patients had resolution of symptoms following discontinuation of the MAP goals. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a life-threatening condition characterized by seizures, confusion, visual disturbance, and headaches alongside neuroradiological findings indicative of posterior cerebral hemispheric white matter edema. (1 , 2) PRES has been described in association with abrupt blood pressure elevation, autoimmune disorders, or transplantation. (1 – 4) In this case report PRES presented with typical status epilepticus (5) but in an unexpected clinical setting, immediately after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) and posterior cervical fusion (PCF) with laminectomy of C5-C6.