Doctors find large air pocket in old dude's brain
NORTHERN IRELAND, UK — Doctors treating an elderly man who was having trouble with balance were surprised to find a 3.5-inch air pocket in the patient's brain.
The 84-year-old man had been complaining to his primary care doctor in Northern Ireland about recurrent falls and three days of left arm and leg weakness, according to a report in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
Physicians were worried the patient may have been suffering from some form of stroke, but he was not displaying any visual or speech impairments and did not seem confused or have facial weakness, according to the report.
A brain scan revealed a 3.5-inch long pocket of air, also known as a pneumatocele, in the man's right frontal lobe, behind the frontal sinus and above the cribriform plate.
An MRI on the man's brain also revealed a small benign bone tumor in the man's paranasal sinuses, that was eroding through the base of the skull, causing air to leak into the cranial cavity, according to the report.
Doctors concluded that the air pressure from the air cavity may have caused a small stroke in the patient's frontal lobe.
Due to his old age, surgery was ruled out.
He was instead given medication to prevent a secondary stroke.
After a 12-week follow up visit, the man said he no longer had any left-side muscle weakness, the journal reported.