Neurol India Home 

Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1201--1202

Mediastinal Widening in a Patient with Paraplegia: An Unusual Cause

Ravi Uniyal, Ravindra K Garg, Shweta Pandey, Neeraj Kumar, Hardeep S Malhotra 
 Department of Neurology, King George Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ravindra K Garg
Department of Neurology, King George Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh


The common causes of mediastinal widening are lymphadenopathy, pericardial effusion, paravertebral abscess, and aortic aneurysm. We present a patient with spinal tuberculosis, paravertebral abscess, and plural effusion that led to mediastinal widening. In this patient, Chest X-ray was deceptive.

How to cite this article:
Uniyal R, Garg RK, Pandey S, Kumar N, Malhotra HS. Mediastinal Widening in a Patient with Paraplegia: An Unusual Cause.Neurol India 2020;68:1201-1202

How to cite this URL:
Uniyal R, Garg RK, Pandey S, Kumar N, Malhotra HS. Mediastinal Widening in a Patient with Paraplegia: An Unusual Cause. Neurol India [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 27 ];68:1201-1202
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Full Text

Mediastinal widening is defined as mediastinal width of more than 8 cm on chest X-ray posteroanterior view.[1] Its common causes are lymph node enlargement secondary to sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, or lymphoma.[2],[3] Mediastinal widening can also occur due to pericardial effusion, paravertebral abscess, idiopathic aneurysm of azygos vein, achalasia, and primary or secondary neoplasms.[2],[3],[4] We report an interesting patient, who presented with paraplegia and X-ray chest revealed mediastinal widening.

 Case Report

A 55-year-old man presented with backache and weakness of both lower limbs of two months duration. He also had dry cough for ten days. His general examination was normal. On neurological examination, patient had spastic paraplegia without any bladder and bowel disturbances. Sensory level was at T12. The vertebral column examination was normal. All laboratory parameters were normal. His chest X-ray revealed a marked mediastinal widening [Figure 1]. Later, contrast-enhanced computed tomography of thorax and spinal magnetic resonance imaging were performed. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography of thorax revealed right-sided loculated pleural effusion abutting vertebral column. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging revealed vertebral discitis involving in T11-12 vertebra along with a large paravertebral pus collection. The lesion was extending along the parietal pleura and connected with localized pleural effusion. [Figure 2] Computed tomography-guided biopsy was done. Biopsy material demonstrated Mycobacterium tuberculosis by cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test. The patient was given anti-tuberculosis treatment. Patient was able to walk unaided after two months.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}


In this case, chest X-ray revealed a deceptive picture of mediastinal widening. However, computed tomography of thorax revealed the paravertebral abscess and loculated pleural effusion located posteriorly in right side. Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of spine clearly demonstrated extension of the vertebral lesion to the pleura and formation of loculated pleural effusion. Pleural involvement in spinal tuberculosis is uncommon.[1],[5] It usually occurs with associated pulmonary disease or after operative interventions. Whether pleural involvement occurs before or after the spinal involvement is not exactly known. However, occurrence of pleural effusion in spinal tuberculosis without pulmonary involvement suggests possibility of extension of lesion from the adjacent vertebrae to pleural spaces. In our case, pleural involvement occurred due to extension of vertebral lesion to the parietal pleura which led to inflammation of pleura and subsequent pleural effusion. In a patient with spinal tuberculosis, paravertebral abscess and plural effusion collectively led to the mediastinal widening.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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