AbstractOBJECTIVEEndovascular procedures for the treatment of spinal arteriovenous malformations place the spinal cord at risk of ischemia. This report illustrates the usefulness of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) in detecting functional changes within the spinal cord motor pathways during embolization of a spinal arteriovenous malformation under general anesthesia.METHODSA 28-year-old man presented with a history of progressive lower extremity numbness and weakness followed by bladder dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging and angiography disclosed a T11-T12 spinal arteriovenous malformation.RESULTSDuring the endovascular procedure, before injection of particles, the disappearance of MEPs from the tibialis anterior muscle led to prompt angiographic reevaluation, which disclosed the arrest of spinal blood flow secondary to radiculomedullary artery occlusion by the catheter. Embolization and catheter withdrawal were followed by temporary recovery of spinal blood flow and MEPs. A second arrest of spinal cord blood flow, caused by severe vasospasm of the feeding radiculomedullary artery, was documented by a control angiogram, and its functional relevance was revealed by a second disappearance of MEPs. The therapeutic effect of papaverine infusion and induced moderate hypertension was confirmed angiographically by complete reopacification of the anterior spinal artery and confirmed neurophysiologically by the complete recovery of MEPs. At the end of the procedure, no additional neurological deficits were noted.CONCLUSIONDuring spinal cord embolization, MEPs may play a critical role in early detection of spinal cord dysfunction by aiding in the prevention of damage to the spinal cord as well as by predicting the clinical outcome.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 1, 1999
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