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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr10.2009.2344.
Published online 2010 April 29. doi:  10.1136/bcr.10.2009.2344
PMCID: PMC3047381
Unusual association of diseases/symptoms

Metastatic angiosarcoma: a vascular tumour or an intracranial haemorrhage?


A 64-year-old man presented with weakness of his right arm and leg. He had previously had mitral valve replacement, tricuspid annuloplasty, leg deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and femoral embolism. Computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain showed an acute left thalamic haemorrhage. Repeat CT brain showed resolution of the original haemorrhage, but the apparent development of new areas of haemorrhage. Warfarin continued due to high risk of thromboembolism. He was readmitted with the rapid development of a visible swelling at the sternum and on the scalp. Ultrasound scan of the sternum revealed a vascular tumour. Suspected haemorrhages in the past were reported as the metastatic deposits. Biopsy and immunohistochemical staining confirmed angiosarcoma of the scalp. Being vascular tumours, angiosarcoma can mimic a brain haemorrhage. Our case illustrates a clinical conundrum. Diagnosing metastatic angiosarcoma of the brain proved difficult without visible primary and histology. The rapid clinical course of the disease and problems with anticoagulation therapy made treatment options limited and the prognosis worse.

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