Subarachnoid Contrast Hyperdensity Following Pelvic Trauma Mimicking Diffuse Subarachnoid Hemorrhage


South Atlantic


Grand Strand Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



contrast hyperdensity, dural tear, pelvic trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage


Emergency Medicine | Orthopedics | Surgery


We present a case of a 54-year-old male who was involved in a motorcycle accident. His head computed tomography (CT) scan on arrival at our Level 1 institution was positive for hyperdensity suspicious for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Spine CT showed anterior compression fractures of T7-T9 vertebral bodies along with the presence of contrast within the subarachnoid space in the thoracic and lumbar spine, raising suspicion for a dural tear. CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed open book pelvic fracture, left sacral ala fracture extending into the left sacroiliac joint and S1 neural foramen, coccygeal fracture, and extraperitoneal bladder rupture.

This rare case report highlights the possibility of a spinal meningeal tear in severe pelvic trauma with concomitant bladder injury as a pathway of contrast entry into the normally impermeable cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space mimicking traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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