Authors present the case of a 5-year-old patient with a spinal arteriovenous fistula (AVF) and pseudoaneurysm of the anterior spinal artery (ASA) caused by a traumatic epidural needle stick injury. A discussion and relevant review of the literature follow.
The boy had a remote history of a liver transplant and required neuraxial blockade for an unrelated abdominal surgical procedure. Initial insertion of the epidural needle at the T9–10 interspace yielded blood. A second attempt at T10–11 was successful. Delayed left leg weakness developed on postoperative Day 8, with an MR image showing a track injury through the cord and a ventral subarachnoid hematoma. Laminectomies from T-9 to T-11were performed emergently to decompress the spinal cord. The dura mater was opened, the ventral hematoma was evacuated, and brisk venous bleeding was controlled with cauterization. Postoperative spinal angiography demonstrated an AVF and pseudoaneurysm of the ASA. Repeat angiography at postoperative Week 4 demonstrated complete resolution of the AVF and pseudoaneurysm, probably due to intraoperative cauterization of the draining vein. The patient underwent a short course of rehabilitation and had no clinical or electrophysiological evidence of spinal cord damage at the 20-month follow-up.
One should be cognizant of the possibility of a cord injury in a patient with new-onset neurological deficits following an interventional spine procedure. Neuroimaging is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment.