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Transverse Myelitis Associated With Acinetobacter baumanii Intrathecal Pump Catheter-Related Infection
  1. Eroboghene E. Ubogu, M.D.,
  2. Judah R. Lindenberg, M.D. and
  3. Mary Ann Werz, M.D., Ph.D.
  1. From the Department of Neurology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
  1. Reprint requests: Dr. Mary Ann Werz, Department of Neurology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Hanna House 5th Floor, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106-5040, USA. E-mail: maryann.werz{at} or eeubogu{at}


Objective: To describe a late neurologic complication of intrathecal pump implantation and show the methods used for the diagnosis and successful treatment of transverse myelitis in this setting.

Case report: A 32-year-old man with a chronic abdominal pain syndrome presented with right lower-extremity numbness 2 months after the placement of an intrathecal morphine pump. This progressed to bilateral lower extremity and ascending sensory loss to T12-L1 dermatome, significant lower-extremity weakness, constipation with overflow incontinence, and detrusor instability causing urinary incontinence in discrete episodes over the following 2 months consistent with a myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the thoracic spine and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis were consistent with transverse myelitis. The intrathecal pump was removed and an Acinetobacter baumanii catheter-tip infection was diagnosed. Clinical course improved with the co-administration of intravenous corticosteroids and antibiotics, with significant clinical improvement within 30 days.

Conclusions: Clinicians should recognize transverse myelitis as a possible late complication of intrathecal pump placement. Early medical intervention and removal of the intrathecal pump may be necessary to prevent irreversible spinal cord damage and may support good recovery.

  • Acinetobacter baumanii
  • Catheter-related infection
  • Intrathecal pump
  • Transverse myelitis

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