Diagnosis of a craniopharyngioma after acute brainstem herniation in an emergency department

Weiss, S. L.; Wegg-Uzunlar, L.; Bowman, R. M.; Brannen, M. L.

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Aug 9; 27(8):747-50


A 9-year-old previously healthy girl presented with 3 weeks of intermittent emesis and headache to a community emergency department, where she had rapid decompensation due to increased intracranial pressure. Head computed tomography revealed a calcified suprasellar mass consistent with a craniopharyngioma. Despite medical and surgical intervention, the patient had progression of herniation with global cerebral infarction, and care was withdrawn. Although craniopharyngiomas are typically thought to be benign, slow-growing intracranial tumors, this case emphasizes the need for an expeditious diagnostic evaluation when symptoms that may be referable to intracranial hypertension are evident. Craniopharyngiomas and emergency management of intracranial hypertension are reviewed.

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