Central Nervous System Superficial Siderosis, Headache, and Epilepsy


Address all correspondence to Dr. S. Iannaccone, Department of Neurology, via Prinetti, 29, 20127 Milan, Italy.


Almost 95 cases of superficial siderosis of the central nervous system have been reported in the literature. These patients showed a clinical syndrome characterized by ataxia, deafness, pyramidal system involvement, and mental deterioration with xanthochromic cerebrospinal fluid and neuroradiological findings of hemosiderin deposits. About 30% of the patients had headache as an accompanying symptom. In the present case report, we describe a 33-year-old man with the typical clinical features of superficial siderosis, who complained, since aged 8, of a severe recurrent frontal headache often associated with loss of consciousness occurring after at least 2 hours of pain. The MRI and CSF findings were consistent with subarachnoid bleeding. In our patient, headache due to meningeal irritation by subarachnoid blood induced seizures as a probable reflex of extreme pain. Carbamazepine and nimodipine prophylaxis dramatically reduced the frequency of headaches and seizures.


superficial siderosis