Medical Journal of Zambia

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Spinal haemangioblastomas: a report of two cases

O.A. Badejo, T.A. Oyemolade, T.A. Malomo


Background: Spinal haemangioblastomas are rare benign but potentially devastating vascular tumours. They may occur sporadically or as a component of Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. There is a dearth of information about these tumours among Nigerians. This study aims to evaluate the clinical profile and outcome of surgery as well as the challenges of management of these tumours in a resource-limited country.

Methods: We retrospectively analysed data from the records of patients who had surgery for spinal haemangioblastoma at our center between January 2004 and December 2018.

Results: We operated 2 cases of spinal haemangioblastomas during the study period (1 male, 1 female). The patients were aged 25 and 50 years. Both patients presented with sensorimotor deficits but only one them had sphincteric dysfunction. The duration of symptoms was 2 weeks in one patient and 18 months in the other. The tumour was located in the thoracic region in both of them. One patient had extramedullary tumour while the had an intramedullary spinal tumour. Both patients were paraplegic at the time of surgery, for 3 days in one patient and more than 4 months in the second patient. Gross total tumour resection was achieved in both individual. The patient with short duration of symptoms and extramedullary tumour made a rapid post-operative neurological improvement while the one with long duration of symptoms and intramedullary tumour remained paraplegic until his demise 9 months after surgery.

Conclusion: Spinal haemangioblastomas are rare tumours. Long duration of symptoms and intramedullary tumour location are predictors of unfavorable surgical outcome.

Keywords: Haemangioblastoma, Spinal cord, Nigerian, Surgery, Outcome

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