Fetal brain stem infarction due to rupture of a brain abscess: A case report

Hiroyuki Kon, Toshihiro Kumabe, Teiji Tominaga, Kazuo Mizoi

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We report a case of a brain abscess which initially presented with subcortical hematoma and ultimately resulted in fatal brain stem infarction due to its rupure into the subarachnoid space. A 50-year-old male was admitted to a nearby hospital with complaints of headache, fever, and sensory aphasia. He had ventricular septal defect found 15 years previously, sinusitis, and liver cirrhosis. Computerized tomographic (CT) scan revealed a left temporal subcortical hematoma. Gadolinium-DTPA enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed faint ring-like enhancement at the margin of the lesion. The left internal carotid angiogram demonstrated the vascular blush and early venous filling of the vein of Labbe. Administration of antibiotics and predonine resulted in resolution of fever within five days. MRI obtained 17 days after the onset showed typical ring-like enhancement The mass was just adjacent to the lateral ventricle. The patient was transferred to our hospital for further examination and treatment 21 days after the onset. Fever had recurred 2 days before admission to our hospital. One day after admission, the patient began to vomit. About 15 hours following this symptom, he suddenly became comatose and tetraplegic. CT scan demonstrated a rupture of the abscess. Emergent drainage from the lateral ventricle and the abscess cavity was undertaken. Follow-up CT scan revealed multiple infarctions involving the upper brain stem and the bilateral thalamus. He died on the 29th day after the onset. The mechanisms of hemorrhage with a brain abscess and cerebral infarction after rupture of brain abscess are discussed. Hemorrhage with brain abscess is extremely rare. However, brain abscess should be considered as a possible etiology of an atypical hematoma. To avoid fatal rupture of the brain abscess, immediate treatment is essential. Once the rupture of the brain abscess occurs, its contents might cause vasospasm severe enough to cause cerebral infarction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-459
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997 May


  • brain abscess
  • cerebral infarction
  • hemorrhage
  • rupture
  • vasospasm


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