Superficial siderosis (SS) of the central nervous system is a rare condition caused by chronic subarachnoid hemorrhage. Clinical manifestations typically include sensorineural hearing loss and cerebellar ataxia. Recurrent episodic encephalopathy in the setting of SS has not been reported. We describe a unique case of SS in a 67-year-old man with an 8-year history of episodic encephalopathy associated with headache and vomiting. The patient also had a history of progressive dementia, ataxia, and myelopathy. A diagnosis of superficial siderosis was made after magnetic resonance gradient-echo images showed diffuse hemosiderin staining over the cerebellum and cerebral convexities. No intracerebral source of hemorrhage was identified. The patient therefore underwent gadolinium-enhanced spinal MRI which suggested a possible vascular malformation. A therapeutic laminectomy subsequently confirmed an arteriovenous fistula which was resected. In SS, there are often long delays between symptom onset and definitive diagnosis. Early identification is facilitated by magnetic resonance imaging with gradient-echo sequences. When no source of hemorrhage is identified intracranially, then total spinal cord imaging is indicated to assess for an occult source of hemorrhage as occurred in our case.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clineuro.2009.09.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000273933700017
View details for PubMedID 19857921