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Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma of the thoracic spine after herbal medicine: A case report

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Background: Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is an uncommon disease, but it can lead to acute cord compression with disabling consequences. Identifiable reasons for spontaneous hemorrhage are vascular malformations and bleeding disorders. However, SSEH after taking herbal medicines has not been described yet. Case presentation: A 60-year-old female experienced sudden back pain combined with numbness and weakness in the lower limbs for several hours with no trauma, drug use, family history or any disease history. Her deep tendon reflexes were normoactive, and Babinski was negative. An emergent MRI showed a spinal epidural hematoma extending from T3 to T5. She was taken to surgery after immediate clinical and laboratory evaluations had been completed. Emergency decompression with laminectomy was performed and the patient recovered immediately after the surgery. Additional history taken from the patient at outpatient clinic after discharge revealed that she had been continuously taking herbal medicine containing black garlic for 8 weeks. Conclusion: To our knowledge, no report has been previously issued on SSEH after taking herbal medicines. Although contradictory evidence is present on bleeding risks with herbal uses, we believe that it's reasonable to ascertain if patients with SSEP are taking herbal medication before or during spinal surgery.




Kim, E. J., Ahn, J., & Kim, S. J. (2018). Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma of the thoracic spine after herbal medicine: A case report. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 18(1).

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