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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec




Spontaneous Cervical Epidural Hematoma Following COVID-19 Illness Presenting to a Chiropractor: A Case Report.



Cervical epidural hematoma (CEH) is a rare and potentially fatal condition in which blood accumulates in the epidural space of the cervical spine. A 64-year-old man presented to a chiropractor with a two-week history of sudden-onset neck pain, shoulder pain, occipital headache, and numbness in the shoulders and upper extremities. He had recovered from a mild course of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness one month prior. The patient's primary care provider had previously prescribed a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for his neck pain. However, his symptoms worsened, and he visited the emergency department where he had unremarkable cervical spine radiographs and was discharged with a diagnosis of neck strain. The chiropractor ordered cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), revealing a ventral CEH extending from C2 to C5. The chiropractor referred the patient to a nearby hospital for urgent management. The patient was admitted and observed, progressively improved, and did not require surgery. After 10 weeks in the hospital the patient was asymptomatic, a follow-up MRI revealed resolution of the CEH, and the patient was discharged. While the current case highlights a temporal relationship between COVID-19 and CEH, further research is needed to determine if COVID-19 is a risk factor for this condition. Clinicians who encounter patients with spinal disorders must be able to recognize the clinical features of CEH and refer these patients for emergency care and/or neurosurgical evaluation.