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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