Spinal cord infarction: a rare cause of admission to Internal Medicine Departments but a condition with relevant systemic complications

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Daniela Galimberti *
Annamaria Casali
Dimitriy Arioli
Mauro Silingardi
Attilia Maria Pizzini
Ido Iori
(*) Corresponding Author:
Daniela Galimberti | paola.granata@pagepress.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND Spinal cord infarction is a rare cause of admission to Internal Medicine Departments as it is of infrequent occurrence and it is usually addressed to Neurologic Units. Diagnosis at admission however may be challenging expecially in the elderly because of several co-morbidities and variable presentation. Clinical course is often complicated by autonomic, infective and cardiovascular problems as well as a long stay-in-bed period. Outcome is poor in case of severe motor, autonomic (bladder and bowel) and sensitive impairment at presentation, it’s related to anatomic damage site and extension and it’s worse in case of anterior bilateral infarcts.
CLINICAL CASE The authors describe the case of an 81- year-old woman who was admitted to an Internal Medicine Department because of cervical spinal cord infarction. The diagnostic evaluation as well as the management of cardiovascular, infective, rheumatologic and autonomic complications needed skillful internistic competence and a long in-hospital period. MR allowed a correct diagnosis a few hours after presentation, but the pathogenesis was never clearly established. The most invalidating symptoms were loss of bowel control lasting for several weeks during hospitalization and neuropathic pain still present at discharge. As for the outcome, the patient was able to go home after 3 months from admission able to walk with aids, with full bowel and bladder control and no sensitive impairment.

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