A myelogram is performed upon a patient with a subacute, worsening paraparesis. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and myelogram are both unremarkable except for a slight increase in the CSF protein content. A computed tomography (CT) scan of the spine is unrevealing. Plain films of the spine are completely normal. An MRI of the lumbar cord with gadolinium reveals patchy enhancement at about the L4–L5 spinal cord level. Based on this information, which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?
a. An intraspinal hemorrhage
b. An extraparenchymal meningioma
c. An intraparenchymal ependymoma
d. A transverse myelitis
e. A syringomyelia
the answer is below…
The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE for short, is a three-part licensing examination that is required in order to receive a license to practice medicine within the United States.
The USMLE assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to determine fundamental patient-centered skills that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care.Examination committees composed of medical educators and clinicians from across the United States and its territories prepare the examination materials each year.
This exam is designed by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners to determine whether or not an individual understands and can apply the knowledge necessary to practice medicine safely and intelligently.
The USMLE is actually comprised of three different exams that are referred to as steps, which examine the individual’s knowledge of specific topics related to the field of medicine such as basic science, medical knowledge, medical skills, clinical science, and the application of all of these skills and areas of knowledge in the medical field.
All three steps of the USMLE include a series of computerized multiple-choice questions, but the format of the exam and the information covered in each multiple-choice section is different for each step of the USMLE. The USMLE Step II also has a clinical skills portion that examines an individual’s ability to work with real patients and the USMLE Step III has a computerized patient simulation portion in addition to the multiple-choice section of the exam. In order for an individual to receive a license to practice medicine, the individual must pass all three steps of the USMLE.
The correct answer is d; A transverse myelitis.
With an intraspinal hemorrhage, the CT scan would be expected to reveal the clot as a relatively dense mass within the spinal canal. Tumors, such as meningiomas and ependymomas, should have been obvious on MRI if they were producing such dramatic symptoms and signs. Similarly, a syringomyelia should be evident as a cyst that extends over several levels of the spinal cord. With a transverse myelitis, inflammation is largely limited to the substance of the cord, and there need not be an apparent mass effect. This type of reaction may occur with a variety of noninfectious processes, such as MS and sarcoid, or infectious processes, such as viral and parasitic infections.