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Crowned dens syndrome: a rare cause of neck pain and fever

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An 86-year-old man presented with acute severe neck pain, restricted neck movement and fever. The white cell count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were all elevated. After excluding an infective aetiology, review of computed tomography images of the cervical spine (Figure) showed calcification of the transverse ligament of the atlas with crown-like density around the odontoid process. This was consistent with a diagnosis of crowned dens syndrome, an uncommon manifestation of calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate deposition disease.1,2 The patient’s symptoms were self-limiting over 1 week without the use of anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids.