Paraplegia in a chiropractic patient secondary to atraumatic dural arteriovenous fistula with perimedullary hypertension: case report
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Chiropractic & Manual Therapies
DOI 10.1186/2045-709X-21-23
  1. Chiropractic
  2. Manipulation
  3. Dural arteriovenous fistula
  4. Paraplegia
  5. Pontomesencephalic venous congestion
  6. Complication
  7. Stroke

Intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas are abnormal communications between higher-pressure arterial circulation and lower-pressure venous circulation. This abnormal communication can result in important and frequently misdiagnosed neurological abnormalities.

A case of rapid onset paraplegia following cervical chiropractic manipulation is reviewed. The patient’s generalized spinal cord edema, lower extremity paraplegia and upper extremity weakness, were initially believed to be a complication of the cervical spinal manipulation that had occurred earlier on the day of admission. Subsequent diagnostic testing determined the patient suffered from impaired circulation of the cervical spinal cord produced by a Type V intracranial arteriovenous fistula and resultant venous hypertension in the pontomesencephalic and anterior spinal veins.

The clinical and imaging findings of an intracranial dural arteriovenous fistula with pontomesencephalic venous congestion and paraplegia are reviewed.

This case report emphasizes the importance of thorough and serial diagnostic imaging in the presence of sudden onset paraplegia and the potential for error when concluding atypical neurological presentations are the result of therapeutic misadventure.