Pneumorrhachis

Pneumorrhachis (PR) refers to a rare phenomenon characterized by the presence of air within the spinal canal (either intra- or extradural).

Patients can often be asymptomatic 3.

PR can result from a number of causes:

Patients with pneumorrhachis usually are managed conservatively. The entrapped air occupying parts of the cerebrospinal compartment may cause syndromes of both intracranial and intraspinal hypertension, as well as hypotension as a consequence to either an increase or decrease of intracranial and intraspinal pressure 3.

Pneumorrhachis can in rare cases cause symptoms of cord compression and may even require decompressive surgery. Hence, rapid evaluation and diagnosis remain important 8.

Consider intraspinal gas from degenerative disc disease 12.

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Article information

rID: 10875
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Traumatic pneumorrhachis
  • Intraspinal air
  • Pneumorachis
  • Epidural pneumatosis
  • Aerorachia

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: with added pneumomediastinum
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    Partial anterior ...
    Case 2: with associated pneumocephalus
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    Case 3: with Boerhaave syndrome
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