Case Reports in Medicine

Case Reports in Medicine / 2014 / Article

Case Report | Open Access

Volume 2014 |Article ID 158326 |

Zehra Kurdoglu, Orkun Cetin, Ismail Gulsen, Deniz Dirik, M. Deniz Bulut, "Intracranial Meningioma Diagnosed during Pregnancy Caused Maternal Death", Case Reports in Medicine, vol. 2014, Article ID 158326, 3 pages, 2014.

Intracranial Meningioma Diagnosed during Pregnancy Caused Maternal Death

Academic Editor: Aaron S. Dumont
Received07 Jul 2014
Accepted16 Aug 2014
Published10 Sep 2014


Brain tumors are rarely diagnosed during pregnancy. Accelerated growth of intracranial meningiomas during pregnancy sometimes requires urgent surgical intervention. We describe a 41-year-old pregnant woman with severe neurological decompensation requiring immediate neurosurgery. Cesarean section resulted in maternal death. Meningioma diagnosed during a viable pregnancy should be managed according to the severity of maternal neurological symptoms and gestational age of pregnancy. Early intervention for intracranial tumors during pregnancy may save maternal and fetal lives.

1. Introduction

Intracranial tumors during pregnancy were first described in 1898 [1]. Although primary intracranial neoplasms are seen rarely, they are the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women aged 20 to 39 years [2]. Glial neoplasms are the most common tumors, followed by meningiomas and acoustic neuromas [3].

Meningiomas may exhibit accelerated growth during the second half of pregnancy [4, 5]. Neurosurgery has become feasible through advanced anesthetic techniques for meningiomas during pregnancy. Urgent neurosurgery is reserved for signs of maternal progressive neurologic deficit [6].

In the present paper, we report a 41-year-old, 39-week pregnant woman with intracranial meningioma and progressive severe neurologic signs leading to maternal death during pregnancy.

2. Case

A 41-year-old woman, gravida 5, parity 4, at 39 weeks of gestation presented with progressive visual impairment and confusion. On the neurological examination, there were focal deficits and symptoms related to raised intracranial pressure. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with gadolinium showed a mass lesion with compression of olfactory sulcus, consistent with meningioma (Figures 1(a) and 1(b)). Because of her progressive visual impairment and confusion, both emergent neurosurgery and cesarean section were planned at the same time. A 3100 g and 7–9 Apgar score healthy infant was delivered by cesarean section firstly. Then craniotomy was performed for excision of the tumor. The pathology report described meningothelial meningioma, World Health Organization (WHO) grade 1. On the third day after the operation, persistent hypotension was observed following recurrent epileptic seizures in the Intensive Care Unit. The patient did not respond to aggressive medical treatment of the hypotension. Hypoperfusion of the central nervous system led to diffuse brain infarction and maternal death.

3. Discussion

Growth of meningiomas accelerates during pregnancy [7]. The mechanisms of tumor growth remain controversial. Authors have concluded that reversible hemodynamic changes such as hypervascularity and intracellular and/or extracellular edema were most likely responsible for the rapid growth pattern. A progesterone-induced mechanism has also been reported to be responsible for enlargement of meningiomas in pregnancy [8, 9]. After delivery, regression of tumor size and resolution of symptoms have been described [10].

The clinical picture of headache, vomiting, or seizures can be confused with hyperemesis gravidarum in early pregnancy or preeclampsia in late pregnancy. However, the presence of abnormal findings on fundoscopic examinations, visual impairment, limb weakness, focal seizures, and neurological deficits should alert physicians to the possibility of an intracranial lesion and prompt further investigation with MRI for diagnosis.

Most investigators share the same general management paradigm for intracranial tumors manifested and diagnosed during pregnancy [11]. There is agreement that if acute and severe maternal neurological deterioration develop, a life-saving procedure is mandatory, regardless of any other factors. In these rare cases, two factors should be emphasized for the timing for neurosurgery: maternal neurological conditions and gestational age of the fetus. In our case, although neurosurgery and cesarean section had been planned immediately due to progressive neurologic decompensation signs, maternal death occurred.

In conclusion, meningioma diagnosed during a viable pregnancy should be managed according to the severity of maternal neurologic symptoms and gestational age of pregnancy. Early intervention for intracranial tumors during pregnancy may save maternal and fetal lives. A multidisciplinary approach involving a neurosurgeon, an obstetrician, and an anesthesiologist is required to improve maternal and fetal well-being.


This paper is presented as an oral presentation at the XII Congress of the National Gynecology and Obstetrics and the VI Congress of the Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics National Societies in the Mediterranean (FGOM), Antalya, Turkey, May 15–19, 2014.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


  1. M. H. Bernard, “Sarcome cerebral à evolution rapide au cours de la grossesse et pendant les suites des couches,” Bulletin de la Society d'Obstetrique de Paris, vol. 1, pp. 296–298, 1898. View at: Google Scholar
  2. C. B. Stevenson and R. C. Thompson, “The clinical management of intracranial neoplasms in pregnancy,” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 24–37, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  3. N. C. A. Roelvink, W. Kamphorst, H. A. M. van Alphen, and B. R. Rao, “Pregnancy-related primary brain and spinal tumors,” Archives of Neurology, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 209–215, 1987. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  4. R. S. Carroll, J. Zhang, and P. M. Black, “Expression of estrogen receptors alpha and beta in human meningiomas,” Journal of Neuro-Oncology, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 109–116, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  5. J. Gilroy, Meningioma in Basic Neurology, McGraw-Hills, New York, NY, USA, 3rd edition, 2000.
  6. L. P. Wang and M. J. Paech, “Neuroanesthesia for the pregnant woman,” Anesthesia & Analgesia, vol. 107, no. 1, pp. 193–200, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  7. E. A. Lusis, B. W. Scheithauer, A. T. Yachnis et al., “Meningiomas in pregnancy: a clinicopathologic study of 17 cases,” Neurosurgery, vol. 71, no. 5, pp. 951–961, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  8. D. W. Cahill, N. Bashirelahi, L. W. Solomon, T. Dalton, M. Salcman, and T. B. Ducker, “Estrogen and progesterone receptors in meningiomas,” Journal of Neurosurgery, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 985–993, 1984. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  9. K. P. Lesch and R. Fahlbusch, “Simultaneous estradiol and progesterone receptor analysis in meningiomas,” Surgical Neurology, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 257–263, 1986. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  10. S. Shitara, N. Nitta, T. Fukami, and K. Nozaki, “Tuberculum sellae meningioma causing progressive visual impairment during pregnancy: case report,” Neurologia Medico-Chirurgica, vol. 52, no. 8, pp. 607–611, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  11. S. Elwatidy, Z. Jamjoom, E. Elgamal, and A. Abdelwahab, “Management strategies for acute brain lesions presenting during pregnancy: a case series,” British Journal of Neurosurgery, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 478–487, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar

Copyright © 2014 Zehra Kurdoglu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

More related articles

 PDF Download Citation Citation
 Download other formatsMore
 Order printed copiesOrder

Related articles

We are committed to sharing findings related to COVID-19 as quickly as possible. We will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted research articles as well as case reports and case series related to COVID-19. Review articles are excluded from this waiver policy. Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions.