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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 155-156

Spinal schwannoma: An unusual cause of acute subarachnoid hemorrhage

Department of Neurosurgery, Xuan Wu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing-100053, China

Date of Acceptance09-Oct-2009
Date of Web Publication8-Mar-2010

Correspondence Address:
Liyong Sun
Department of Neurosurgery, Xuan Wu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing-100053
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.60430

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How to cite this article:
Sun L, Chen Z, Jian F, Ling F. Spinal schwannoma: An unusual cause of acute subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurol India 2010;58:155-6

How to cite this URL:
Sun L, Chen Z, Jian F, Ling F. Spinal schwannoma: An unusual cause of acute subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurol India [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Feb 6];58:155-6. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2010/58/1/155/60430


A 32-year-old man presented with acute onset of severe headache and backache following sneezing. Neurological examination was normal except for nuchal rigidity. Computed tomography (CT)of head was normal and no evidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Multiple lumbar punctures showed bloody CSF with many RBCs. Both cerebral and spinal angiography were negative for aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine revealed a 1.5 x 2 x 1 cm intradural extramedullary tumor at the level of T4-5 [Figure 1]. The lesion was of heterogeneous signal intensity both on T1 and T2-weighted images with irregular enhancement. Flow void signals were presented intradurally on T2-weighted images in the peritumoral region suggesting dilated vessels. Surgical total resection of the tumor confirmed benign schwannoma on histopathological examination. Some subdural blood clots and dilated veins were also found intraoperatively [Figure 2]. The patient was discharged with improved symptoms and without any neurologic deficits.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage of spinal origin accounts for less than 1% of all SAH. [1] The common causes of spinal SAH include trauma, AVMs or aneurysms of spinal arteries. [2] Additionally, both primary and metastatic spinal tumors can present with SAH. The majority of these cases are attributed to ependymoma of the conus medullaris,which is the common spinal tumor associated with SAH. Nerve sheath tumors are rarely the cause for spinal SAH, more so with thoracic localization

Two main theories have been proposed to explain this rare phenomenon in patients with spinal nerve sheath tumors. The mechanical theory [3] suggests that traumatic displacement may occur at the interface between the tumor and the normal nerve tissue, which causes a hemorrhage extending into the subarachnoid space. In the present case, the patient's sneeze might have resulted in a tractional force resulting in a disruption of the vessels attached to the tumor. The location of the tumor may have a bearing. A relatively large space in the spinal canal, such as in the conus medullaris or cauda equine region may make this shearing force produce more displacement between the tumor and vascular attachments. The vascular theory proposes that sponateous thrombosis of the vessels in and around the tumor may result in vessel wall necrosis and hemorrhage, especial with large, rapidly growing, highly malignant, and highly vascular tumors. [4] We assume in the present case the spinal SAH is probably related to the rupture of this peritumoral dilated venous complex.

In summary, we presented this case to emphasize that spinal schwsnnoma should be considered and whole spinal MRI scanning should be considered as a noninvasive adjunctive examination in cases of angiographic negative SAH, especially when patients have first onset of spinal symptoms.

 » References Top

1.Cummings TM, Johnson MH. Neurofibroma manifested by spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Am J Roentgenol 1994;162:959-60.   Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Parmar H, Pang BC, Lim CC, Chng SM, Tan KK. Spinal Schwannoma with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage: A diagnostic challenge.Am J Neuroradiol 2004;25:846-50.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
3.Luxon LM, Harrison MJ. Subarachnoid hemorrhage and papilledema due to a cervical neurilemmoma: Case report. J Neurosurg 1978;48:1015-8.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Cordon T, Bekar A, Yaman O. Spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage attributable to schwannoma of the cauda equina. Surg Neurol 1999;51:373-5.  Back to cited text no. 4      


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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