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Subdural haematoma, the great imitator, mimicking acute spinal cord lesion


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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