Burst spinal artery aneurysm linked to Ecstasy use

July 3, 2014, British Medical Journal

Taking the street drug Ecstasy could lead to a potentially fatal weakening and rupture of the spinal cord artery, doctors have warned in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Posterior spinal artery aneurysms - a blood-filled swelling of the artery, caused by a weakening and distension of the vessel wall - are rare, with only 12 cases reported to date. But all of them caused spinal bleeding which affected the function of the spinal cord.

Doctors discovered one of these aneurysms in a previously healthy teenager who had taken Ecstasy or MDMA.

The morning after the night before, he woke up with headache, neck pain and muscle spasms. After a week these symptoms suddenly took a turn for the worse, accompanied by nausea, prompting him to seek help at his local emergency department.

A week later the teen was transferred to a specialist neurosurgical unit for further investigations, which revealed an , measuring 2 x 1 mm, on the left side of the spinal cord artery at the back of his neck.

The aneurysm was successfully removed, along with the weakened portion of the artery. The teen made a full recovery, with no lasting nerve damage.

But the authors reiterate that Ecstasy use has already been linked to severe systemic and neurological complications, including stroke, inflammation of the arteries in the brain (vasculitis) and internal brain bleeds.

And now, posterior spinal artery aneurysm can be added to the list, they say.

The drug acts on the sympathetic nervous system, sparking a sudden hike in blood pressure, as a result of the surge in serotonin it releases. And this could make any pre-existing aneurysms or other arterial abnormalities prone to rupture, they warn.

Explore further: Study sheds light on genetic factors for intracranial aneurysm

Related Stories

Study sheds light on genetic factors for intracranial aneurysm

February 14, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A large collaborative study that included researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine is reporting a new chromosomal region associated with intracranial aneurysm susceptibility, ...

The Medical Minute: Pipes in the brain as treatment for aneurysms

December 9, 2011
Brain aneurysms are balloon-like out-pouchings that can develop off of brain arteries. Like balloons, these out-pouchings can burst causing a devastating type of stroke as blood leaks in and around the brain. Many years ago ...

New device offers revolutionary treatment for difficult-to-Treat brain aneurysms

June 8, 2011
Physicians at Rush University Medical Center are offering a new and effective treatment to patients suffering from complex brain aneurysms. The recently FDA-approved technology called the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED ...

Less invasive anesthetic methods better for endovascular aneurysm repair

October 27, 2011
Researchers have identified a safer, more cost effective way to provide anesthesia for patients undergoing endovascular repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm – a common, often asymptomatic condition that, if not found ...

Relieving chronic pain

March 25, 2013
A new, implantable device for treating chronic pain passes an important safety test.

Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury

October 31, 2013
In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that the scar tissue formed by stem cells after a spinal cord injury does not impair recovery; in fact, stem cell scarring confines the damage. The findings, ...

Recommended for you

Drug may help surgical patients stop opioids sooner

December 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Opioid painkillers after surgery can be the first step toward addiction for some patients. But a common drug might cut the amount of narcotics that patients need, a new study finds.

Children best placed to explain facts of surgery to patients, say experts

December 13, 2017
Getting children to design patient information leaflets may improve patient understanding before they have surgery, finds an article in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Burn victim saved by skin grafts from identical twin (Update)

November 23, 2017
A man doomed to die after suffering burns across 95 percent of his body was saved by skin transplants from his identical twin in a world-first operation, French doctors said Thursday.

Is a common shoulder surgery useless?

November 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—New research casts doubt on the true effectiveness of a common type of surgery used to ease shoulder pain.

Study shows electric bandages can fight biofilm infection, antimicrobial resistance

November 6, 2017
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown - for the first time - that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic ...

Obesity increases incidence, severity, costs of knee dislocations

November 3, 2017
A new study of more than 19,000 knee dislocation cases in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012 provides a painful indication of how the nation's obesity epidemic is changing the risk, severity and cost of a traumatic injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.