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BACKGROUND: Long-term immunosuppression with oral corticosteroids is frequently used to treat inflammatory diseases of the lung and is advocated in the management of some patients with asthma. METHODS: The authors describe the case of a 35-year-old man with severe refractory asthma who developed a slowly progressive thoracic spinal cord syndrome. RESULTS: Spinal imaging demonstrated the presence of spinal epidural lipomatosis, a rare complication of prolonged corticosteroid therapy, which is characterized by overgrowth of fat in the epidural space and neuronal compression. CONCLUSIONS: Spinal epidural lipomatosis should be considered in patients receiving long-term corticosteroid therapy who develop symptoms and signs suggestive of spinal cord compression.

Original publication




Journal article


J Asthma

Publication Date





316 - 318


Adrenal Cortex Hormones, Adult, Androstadienes, Anti-Asthmatic Agents, Asthma, Epidural Space, Fatal Outcome, Fluticasone, Humans, Lipomatosis, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Prednisolone