A 52-year-old woman who was having chemotherapy for treatment of an adenocarcinoma of the colon, was admitted to the emergency department because of a moderate neurological impairment. Head CT scan showed bifrontal pneumocephalus without fractures or discontinuities of the skull base. A few hours later, following the patient's neurologic deterioration, a new CT scan showed tension pneumocephalus with air diffusion throughout the posterior cranial fossa and cervical spine. Because of air bubbles into the cervical spine, an MRI of the entire spinal canal was done. This exam revealed a whole spine pneumorrhachis along with a transforaminal air passage through the first right sacral foramen and a pyogenic collection anterior to sacral bone. An abdomen CT scan showed a massive relapse of the colon cancer and confirmed a hypodense collection contiguous to the anterior sacral surface, causing erosion of the sacral bone and dural layer with air penetration into the spinal canal. Neurosurgical treatment by a lumbosacral laminectomy and duraplasty was followed by tumour removal and omental covering of the pelvis. Her neurological symptoms were resolved completely. One month later, the patient began adjuvant chemotherapy.
Acute tension pneumocephalus secondary to whole spine pneumorrhachis as an unusual presentation of a colon cancer complicated by a transsacral cerebrospinal fluid leak / Iacoangeli, Maurizio; Di Rienzo, A.; Fianchini, Aroldo; Marmorale, Cristina; Alvaro, Lorenzo; Nocchi, N.; Scerrati, Massimo. - In: JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE. - ISSN 0967-5868. - STAMPA. - 20:3(2012), pp. 469-471. [10.1016/j.jocn.2012.02.032]