Arachnoid Cyst Spontaneous Rupture

Inês Brás Marques, José Vieira Barbosa


Arachnoid cysts are benign congenital cerebrospinal fluid collections, usually asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally in children or adolescents. They may become symptomatic after enlargement or complications, frequently presenting with symptoms of intracranial hypertension. We report an unusual case of progressive refractory headache in an adult patient due to an arachnoid cyst spontaneous rupture. Although clinical improvement occurred with conservative treatment, the subdural hygroma progressively enlarged and surgical treatment was ultimately needed. Spontaneous rupture is a very rare complication of arachnoid cysts. Accumulation of cerebrospinal
fluid accumulation in the subdural space causes sustained intracranial hypertension that may be life-threatening and frequently requires surgical treatment. Patients with arachnoid cysts must be informed on their small vulnerability to cyst rupture and be aware that a sudden and severe headache, especially if starting after minor trauma or a Valsalva manoeuvre, always requires medical evaluation.

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