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Fibrocartilaginous embolism

Other Names for this Disease
  • Embolism, fibrocartilaginous
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A fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is an unusual cause of spinal cord and cerebral ischemia (insufficient blood supply).[1] Symptoms may include sudden, severe pain in the neck and/or back; progressive weakening and reduced sensation; and paralysis.[2] It may be caused by the blocking of an artery (embolization) with nucleus pulposus fragments (a substance that provides cushioning to the spinal column), which interrupts the vascular supply. Some individuals have reported lifting, physical exertion, minor trauma, or Valsalva maneuver before severe spinal cord infarction. FCE can result in severe spinal cord injury or death in some individuals.[1]
Last updated: 3/24/2011


  1. F. J. Mateena,b, P. A. Monradb, A. N. Leep Hunderfundb, C. E. Robertsonb and E. J. Sorenson. Clinically suspected fibrocartilaginous embolism: clinical characteristics, treatments, and outcomes. European Journal of Neurology. 2011; 18:218-225.
  2. Luigi Tosi, Gianfranco Rigoli, Alberto Beltramello. Fibrocartilaginous embolism of the spinal cord: a clinical and pathogenetic reconsideration. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. 1996; Accessed 3/23/2011.
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