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Home  >  Medical Research Archives  >  Issue 149  > Spinal Cord Compression as Clinical Presentation of Malignant Hematopoietic Diseases in Pediatric Patients
Published in the Medical Research Archives
Dec 2022 Issue

Spinal Cord Compression as Clinical Presentation of Malignant Hematopoietic Diseases in Pediatric Patients

Published on Dec 31, 2022




Spinal cord compression (SCC) is an unusual manifestation of leukemias and lymphomas in children and defines an oncological emergency frequently unsuspected, being a cause of severe sequelae. Our aim was to analyze the characteristics of patients who presented signs or symptoms of spinal cord compression in early phases of malignant hematopoietic diseases. From November-1988 to July-2022, 3878 patients with leukemia and lymphoma were diagnosed. Of them, 36 children (0.92%) presented spinal cord compression signs/symptoms in early phases of their diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (n=18), Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia and Myeloid Sarcoma (n=7), Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (n=9) and Hodgkin Lymphoma (n=2). Clinical characteristics, images and hematological findings, treatment strategies, results and sequelae were analyzed. Sex distribution was 3.5/1 (M/F) and the media age at diagnosis was 10 (range: 4.9-16.9) years. The most common symptoms were back pain (34/36), functional impotence (27/36) and sphincter compromise (10/36). The media time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 47,5 (range: 0-300) days. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on 33 (92%) patients and showed epidural mass (n=16) or vertebral collapse (n=17) in all of them. Two patients received initial radiotherapy and 11 decompressive surgeries for the management of the urgency spinal cord compression. Bone marrow aspiration was the diagnostic procedure in 69% of cases. All patients received chemotherapy and 94% achieved complete remission. Severe sequelae were observed in 10 patients (paraplegia with neurogenic bladder and kyphoscoliosis). Leukemia and lymphoma should be considered as a differential diagnosis when spinal cord compression is suspected, and magnetic resonance imaging is the mandatory study to confirm this diagnosis as a matter of urgency. Bone marrow involvement was evident due to hematological alterations in 95% of cases allowing to guide the diagnosis and initiate treatment early to reduce sequelae.

Author info

María Deu, María Bertone, Luisina Peruzzo, Carla Pennella, Cristian Sanchez La Rosa, Myriam Guitter, Elizabeth Alfaro, Pedro Zubizarreta, María Felice

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