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Subdural haematoma, the great imitator, mimicking acute spinal cord lesion
  1. Kensuke Shiga and
  2. Aiko Tamura
  1. Department of Neurology, Matsushita Memorial Hospital, Moriguchi, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kensuke Shiga; kenshiga{at}


Acute non-traumatic paraparesis is usually caused by vascular, inflammatory or neoplastic myelopathies; however, it is sometimes caused by non-myelopathic pathologies, including polyradiculoneuropathies, myopathies, psychogenic aetiologies or parasagittal cortical pathologies. A 73-year-old woman reported weakness of the bilateral lower limbs and urinary incontinence. Together with the sensory level at the left T6 dermatome, we initially considered thoracic myelopathy as the most likely diagnosis. However, MRI of the cervicothoracic cord was negative and subsequent cranial CT revealed a bilateral subdural haematoma. A parasagittal cortical pathology should not be excluded from differential diagnoses as a rare cause of paraparesis until its possibility is carefully ruled out.

  • primary care
  • general practice / family medicine
  • neuroimaging
  • neurological injury

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  • Contributors KS designed the study and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. AT was involved in the management of the patient.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer-reviewed.

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