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Keywords:

  • adverse reaction;
  • intervertebral disk disease;
  • lumbar puncture;
  • myelogram;
  • vasospasm

Intracranial subarachnoid hemorrhage is a rare but serious complication of lumbar puncture in humans. Possible sequelae include increased intracranial pressure, cerebral vasospasm, or mass effect, which can result in dysfunction or brain herniation. We describe two dogs that developed intracranial subarachnoid hemorrhage following lumbar myelography. In both dogs, myelography was performed by lumbar injection of iohexol (Omnipaque). Both the dogs underwent uneventful ventral decompressive surgery for disk herniation; however, the dogs failed to recover consciousness or spontaneous respiration following anesthesia. Neurologic assessment in both dogs postoperatively suggested loss of brain stem function, and the dogs were euthanized. There was diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage and leptomeningeal hemorrhage throughout the entire length of the spinal cord, brain stem, and ventrum of brain. No evidence of infectious or inflammatory etiology was identified. The diagnosis for cause of brain death was acute subarachnoid hemorrhage. Our findings suggest that fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage is a potential complication of lumbar myelography in dogs. The cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage is not known, but may be due to traumatic lumbar tap or idiosyncratic response to contrast medium. Subsequent brain death may be a result of mass effect and increased intracranial pressure, cerebral vasospasm, or interaction between subarachnoid hemorrhage and contrast medium.