Neurologic improvement after thoracic, thoracolumbar, and lumbar spinal cord (conus medullaris) injuries.
With approximately 10,000 new spinal cord injury (SCI) patients in the United States each year, predicting public health outcomes is an important public health concern. Combining all regions of the spine in SCI trials may be misleading if the lumbar and sacral regions (conus) have a neurologic improvement at different rates than the thoracic or thoracolumbar spinal cord.
Over a 10-year period between January 1995 to 2005, 1746 consecutive spinal injured patients were seen, evaluated, and treated through a level 1 trauma referral center. A retrospective analysis was performed on 150 patients meeting the criteria of T4 to S5 injury, excluding gunshot wounds. One-year follow-up data were available on 95 of these patients.
Contingency table analyses (chi-squared statistics) and multivariate logistic regression. Variables of interest included level of injury, initial American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), age, race, and etiology.
A total of 92.9% of lumbar (conus) patients neurologically improved one ASIA level or more compared with 22.4% of thoracic or thoracolumbar spinal cord-injured patients. Only 7.7% of ASIA A patients showed neurologic improvement, compared with 95.2% of ASIA D patients; ASIA B patients demonstrated a 66.7% improvement rate, whereas ASIA C had a 84.6% improvement rate. When the two effects were considered jointly in a multivariate analysis, ASIA A and thoracic/thoracolumbar patients had only a 4.1% rate of improvement, compared with 96% for lumbar (conus) and incomplete patients (ASIA B-D) and 66.7% to 72.2% for the rest of the patients. All of these relationships were significant to P < 0.001 (chi-square test). There was no link to age or gender, and race and etiology were secondary to region and severity of injury.
Thoracic (T4-T9) SCIs have the least potential for neurologic improvement. Thoracolumbar (T10-T12) and lumbar (conus) spinal cord have a greater neurologic improvement rate, which might be related to a greater proportion of lower motor neurons. Thus, defining the exact region of injury and potential for neurologic improvement should be considered in future clinical trial design. Combining all anatomic regions of the spine in SCI trials may be misleading if different regions have neurologic improvement at different rates. Over a ten-year period, 95 complete thoracic/thoracolumbar SCI patients had only a 4.1% rate of neurologic improvement, compared with 96.0% for incomplete lumbar (conus) patients and 66.7% to 72.2% for all others.
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ABSTRACT: Thoracolumbar spine trauma is the most common site of spinal cord injury, with clinical and epidemiological importance. We performed a comprehensive literature review on the management and treatment of TLST. Currently, computed tomography is frequently used as the primary diagnostic test in TLST, with magnetic resonance imaging used in addition to assess disc, ligamentous, and neurological injury. The Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System is a new injury severity score created to help the decision-making process between conservative versus surgical treatment. When decision for surgery is made, early procedures are feasible, safe, can improve outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs. Surgical treatment is individualized based on the injury characteristics and surgeon's experience, as there is no evidence-based for the superiority of one technique over the other. The correct management of TLST involves multiple steps, such as a precise diagnosis, classification, and treatment. The TLICS can improve care and communication between spine surgeons, resulting in a more standardized treatment.Journal of craniovertebral junction and spine 01/2013; 4(1):3-9.
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ABSTRACT: Background/objective: Examine associations of type and quantity of physical therapy (PT) interventions delivered during inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation and patient characteristics with outcomes at the time of discharge and at 1 year post-injury. Physical therapists delivering routine care documented details of PT interventions provided. Regression modeling was used to predict outcomes at discharge and 1 year post-injury for a 75% subset; models were validated with the remaining 25%. Injury subgroups also were examined: motor complete low tetraplegia, motor complete paraplegia, and American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) D motor incomplete tetra-/paraplegia. PT treatment variables explain more variation in three functionally homogeneous subgroups than in the total sample. Among patients with motor complete low tetraplegia, higher scores for the transfer component of the discharge motor Functional Independence Measure () are strongly associated with more time spent working on manual wheelchair skills. Being male is the most predictive variable for the motor FIM score at discharge for patients with motor complete paraplegia. Admission ASIA lower extremity motor score (LEMS) and change in LEMS were the factors most predictive for having the primary locomotion mode of "walk" or "both (walk and wheelchair)" on the discharge motor FIM for patients with AIS D injuries. Injury classification influences type and quantity of PT interventions during inpatient SCI rehabilitation and is a strong predictor of outcomes at discharge and 1 year post-injury. The impact of PT treatment increases when patient groupings become more homogeneous and outcomes become specific to the groupings. Note: This is the second of nine articles in the SCIRehab series.The journal of spinal cord medicine 11/2012; 35(6):503-26. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Object In this prospective study, the authors offered protocol-selected patients a combination of parenteral steroids, decompression surgery, and localized cooling to preserve viable spinal cord tissue and enhance functional recovery. Methods After acquiring informed consent, the authors offered this regimen with localized deep cord cooling (dural temperature 6°C) to 20 patients with a neurologically complete spinal cord injury to begin within 8 hours of injury. After decompression, the cord was locally cooled through the intact dura using a suspended extradural saddle at the site of injury for up to 4 hours, during which time spinal fusion was performed. Sensation and motor function were evaluated directly after the injury and again over a year later. The patients were evaluated using the 2011 amendment to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. Results Eighty percent of the 20 patients (12 with cervical and 4 thoracic injuries) with an initial neurologically complete cord injury had some recovery of sensory or motor function. All patients initially had ASIA Grade A impairment. Of 14 patients with quadriplegia, 5 remained ASIA Grade A, 5 improved to ASIA Grade B, 3 to ASIA Grade C, and 1 to ASIA Grade D. The remaining 6 patients had suffered a thoracic spinal cord injury, and of these 2 remained ASIA Grade A, 1 recovered to ASIA Grade B, 2 to ASIA Grade C, and 1 ASIA Grade D. All considered, of 20 patients, 35% remained ASIA Grade A, 30% improved to ASIA Grade B, and 25% to ASIA Grade C. Impairment in 2 (10%) of 20 patients improved to ASIA Grade D. The mean improvement in neurological level of injury in all patients was 1.05, the mean improvement in motor level was 1.7, and the mean improvement in sensory level was 2.8. Two patients recovered the ability to walk, 2 could extend their legs, 5 could sense bladder fullness, and 3 had partial ability to void voluntarily. Four males recovered subnormal ability to have voluntary erection sufficient for limited sexual activity. Conclusions The authors present here results of 20 patients with neurologically complete spinal cord injury treated with a combination of surgical decompression, glucocorticoid administration, and regional hypothermia. These patients experienced a better recovery than might have been expected had traditional forms of treatment been used. The benefit of steroid treatment for cord injury has been debated in the last decade, but the authors feel that research into the effects of cord cooling should be expanded. Given that the optimal neuroprotective temperature after acute trauma has not yet been defined, and may well be below that which is considered safely approachable through systemic cooling, methods that allow for the early attainment of such a temperature locally should be further explored. The results are encouraging enough to suggest the undertaking of controlled clinical trials of treatment using localized spinal cord cooling, where such treatment can be instituted within hours following injury.Journal of neurosurgery. Spine 03/2014; · 1.61 Impact Factor