Type of disease: Rare conditions
A fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is an unusual cause of spinal cord and cerebral ischemia (insufficient blood supply). Symptoms may include sudden, severe pain in the neck and/or back; progressive weakening and reduced sensation; and paralysis. 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. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.