Prospective 2 years survey from 1 February 1997 to 31 January 1999.
To assess the incidence of complications during the acute stage of spinal cord lesions and the possible correlations between them and the type of care and rehabilitation provided.
Spinal cord injured patients consecutively admitted to 37 Italian Rehabilitation Centres (RCs).
The study population was drawn from the GISEM (Italian Group for the Epidemiological Study of Spinal Cord Injuries) study (1997-1999), which involved the participation of 37 RCs and Spinal Units (SUs), situated all over Italy, mainly in the northern and central part of the country. Only patients admitted within 60 days from the traumatic injury were considered. This yielded a population of 588 patients (18% females and 82% males). Six of the most common complications were considered: trophic skin changes, heterotopic ossifications, urinary complications, respiratory complications, deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Results revealed a high incidence of trophic skin changes (23.3%), while over half of the patients presented at least one of the complications under examination. Trophic skin changes occurred exclusively among the patients whose admission to the SUs had been delayed or who had received initial treatment in nonspecialised Centres.
Optimal rehabilitation care, with regard to the prevention of complications during the acute phase, entails early admission to a specialised multidisciplinary facility, namely an SU.
Retrospective chart review.
To document urinary tract abnormalities (UTAs) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and to assess demographic and clinical features associated with UTA detected via ultrasound (US).
Turkish Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center, Ankara, Turkey.
The medical and radiological records of all patients with SCI were screened. Variables in each patient with SCI, including age at the time of the US examination, gender, etiology, level and severity of SCI, time since injury, bladder management methods and findings of urinary tract US, were reviewed and analyzed.
Data were obtained from 1005 patients during the 6-year study period (2008-2013). The mean age was 35.67 ± 14.79 years and the male-female ratio was 2.84:1. Trabeculated bladder (TB) was observed in 35.1% of the patients, bladder calculi in 6%, renal calculi in 6%, hydronephrosis in 5.5% and renal atrophy in 1.2%. Bladder calculi, renal calculi and renal atrophy were observed in patients with TB at higher rates than in those without TB (P = 0.001, 0.036 and 0.004, respectively). The association of TB with hydronephrosis was very close to significance level (P = 0.052).
A large number of SCI patients had UTAs including TB, renal and bladder calculi, hydronephrosis and renal atrophy. The time since injury, level and severity of SCI and bladder management method may influence development of UTA. In addition, TB may be a helpful parameter for predicting UTA in SCI patients.
The functional outcome of the diaphragm after acute spinal cord injury was reviewed over a 16 year period for 107 patients who had required assisted ventilation in the acute phase.
To quantify the incidence of recovery of diaphragm function which occurred beyond the period of acute oedema; to produce a time-related profile of this as a guide to clinicians considering phrenic nerve pacing; and to assess the value of phrenic nerve testing in predicting recovery.
The Southport Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport, England.
Bilateral phrenic nerve and diaphragm integrity was assessed clinically, by spirometry, and by fluoroscopy without and with phrenic nerve stimulation.
Thirty-one per cent of all the ventilated patients (33 cases), with a level of injury between C1 and C4 (Scale A in ASIA Impairment Scale), had diaphragmatic paralysis at the time of respiratory failure. The subsequent diaphragm recovery which appeared in seven of these patients, between 40 and 393 days (mean 143), permitted weaning from ventilatory support at 93 to 430 days (mean 246) after the acute injury, with a vital capacity of over 15 ml kg(-1) at that stage. The diaphragm recovery in a further five patients, whose vital capacity remained below 10 ml kg(-1) and who could not be fully weaned, occurred significantly later, between 84 and 569 days (mean 290), P=0.053. Negative phrenic nerve tests were followed by weaning at a later interval in several cases. By contrast, one patient with an early positive phrenic stimulation test and subsequent diaphragm activity could not be weaned from the ventilator.
Twenty-one per cent of the patients with initial diaphragm paralysis were ultimately able to breathe independently after 4 and 14 months, whilst a further 15% had some diaphragm recovery. Phrenic nerve testing should be repeated at 3 monthly intervals for the first year after high tetraplegia.
Longitudinal study with mortality follow-up.
Identify predictive factors for long-term mortality following tetraplegic spinal cord injury (TSCI).
The Tetrafigap survey is a multi-centre epidemiological survey on the long-term outcome of persons with TSCI, initiated in France in 1995 with the participation of 35 rehabilitation centres.
The mortality follow-up involves 1241 persons with TSCI who were admitted to one of the study rehabilitation units at the initial phase and who completed the initial self-administered questionnaire. There were 226 observed deaths (18.2%) during an 11-year period. Logistic regression methods, with estimates of odds ratios (ORs), incorporating clinical, functional and social participation data were used to determine the factors related to mortality. This was followed by multivariate analysis to determine the best predictive factors for long-term mortality.
Risk of death increases significantly with age but not with the time elapsed since the accident. The risk of death is higher in men. Interestingly, clinical variables are not the best predictors of long-term mortality. Instead, the significant effect of poor social participation (being single, infrequent contact with friends) and functional limitations (full assistance required with dressing or eating) persists after adjustment for other variables.
Once the medical situation becomes more stable, factors related to the long-term mortality of persons with TSCI are not exactly identical to those observed in the short acute-phase and during the first year after the accident. Social participation has a significant effect on mortality.
To report on the need to consider the possibility of the superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS) even after a long time from the initial spinal cord injury.
Ulsan, South Korea.
A 41-year-old man with complete tetraplegia was evaluated for nausea and vomiting. He had a cervical cord injury 11 years previously and his body mass index was 18.6 on admission. The contrast-enhanced abdominal computed tomography (CT) showed intestinal obstruction at the third-portion of the duodenum. With frequent position change and intravenous electrolyte support, the symptoms resolved. There was no relapse of the symptoms with some lifestyle modifications.
Patients with spinal cord injury may develop SMAS even long after their initial injury.
The study design was a case report with 30-year follow-up.
In 1980, there were no pedicle screws available, so it was a great challenge to achieve correction and fusion in a patient with no laminae, and who was quadriplegic. Such a case with such a long follow-up has not been previously reported.
This is a single case report with an ultra-long follow-up. The patient underwent an anterior fusion from T3 to L4 via two incisions, and at a second stage, a posterior fusion from T3 to S1 using Luque rods and wires passed through the foramenae. After 2 years he underwent repair of two pseudarthroses with both anterior and posterior procedures.
He achieved solid fusion following the pseudarthrosis repair. Although being a C7 quadriplegic all his life, he is totally independent in his activities of daily living, and is fully employed.
Correction and fusion can be achieved even in the absence of laminae and pedicle screws.
We investigated microRNA (miRNA) expression after spinal cord injury (SCI) in mice.
The recent discovery of miRNAs suggests a novel regulatory control over gene expression during plant and animal development. MiRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that suppress the translation of target genes by binding to their mRNAs, and play a central role in gene regulation in health and disease. The purpose of this study was to examine miRNA expression after SCI.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University.
We examined the expression of miRNA (miR)-223 and miR-124a in a mouse model at 6 h, 12 h, 1 day, 3 days and 7 days after SCI using quantitative PCR. The miRNA expression was confirmed by in situ hybridization.
Quantitative PCR revealed two peaks of miR-223 expression at 6 and 12 h and 3 days after SCI. MiR-124a expression decreased significantly from 1 day to 7 days after SCI. In situ hybridization demonstrated the presence of miR-223 around the injured site. However, miR-124a, which was present in the normal spinal cord, was not observed at the injured site.
Our results indicate a time-dependent expression pattern of miR-223 and miR-124a in a mouse model of SCI. In this study, the time course of miRNA-223 expression may be related to inflammatory responses after SCI, and the time course of decreased miR-124a expression may reflect cell death.
A prospective, immunohistochemical study of bladder biopsies taken from spinal cord injury (SCI) patients.
To investigate whether cytokeratin 14 immunostaining may be useful to detect early squamous metaplasia in bladder biopsies from patients with SCI.
Southport, United Kingdom.
Biopsy of bladder mucosa was taken from adults with SCI, while they underwent an elective therapeutic procedure in the urinary tract. A total of, 54 biopsies, which showed transitional epithelium only with no evidence of squamous metaplasia on routine H&E staining, formed the study group. In all, 22 biopsies, which showed squamous metaplasia on routine H&E staining, acted as controls. All biopsies were benign with no evidence of dysplasia or malignancy. Immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratin 14 was performed on all biopsies in a single batch, using a standard avidin-biotin complex method.
All control biopsies showed positive immunostaining for cytokeratin 14 in basal and parabasal cells in areas of squamous metaplasia. Of the 54 biopsies, which showed only transitional epithelium on H&E staining, immunohistochemistry for cytokeratin 14 showed no staining in 47 biopsies. The remaining seven biopsies showed positive immunostaining for cytokeratin 14 in the epithelium, in individual cells or clusters of basal cells, revealing unexpected early squamous metaplasia in these biopsies.
Immunostaining for cytokeratin 14 identifies an early phenotypic switch from transitional to squamous epithelium in bladder mucosa. Cytokeratin 14 staining is sufficiently sensitive to identify early squamous metaplasia, which is not yet evident on examination of routine H&E stained sections. This early identification may be of use in alerting physicians to change bladder management regimens to prevent predisposition to recurrent urinary infection and progression of squamous metaplasia. A cost/benefit analysis should be performed to assess the feasibility of routine cytokeratin 14 immunostaining of bladder biopsies from SCI patients.
To present an interesting case of a 14-year-old male with acute paresis of upper extremities and progressive difficulty with lower extremities. The patient is a competitive wrestler and was performing his daily abdominal workout 'sit-ups' with hands interlocked behind his head. During the end and immediately following his abdominal workout, he felt progressive weakness in his upper extremities. He was rushed to the hospital within an hour and seen in the emergency room and admitted to the neurology service for a presumed thromboembolic event.
New York, USA.
The patient was negative for any hematologic disease or coagulopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging was negative for any mass effect on the spinal cord and neurological examination revealed bilateral upper extremity paraparesis 3/5 and lower extremity spasticity and propioceptive dysfunction. The patient was treated with corticosteroids and rigid collar, follow-up examination at 3 months revealed resolution of symptoms.
The pathophysiology of central cord syndrome is thought to be primarily secondary to a hyperextension injury, which causes buckling of the ligamentum flavum and increasing spinal cord diameter which leads to cord compression. This syndrome is more commonly seen in the spondylotic elderly. This case involves a teenager with normal canal diameter; however, combining aggressive exercise with extreme cervical hyperflexion, one can plausibly account for an acute ischemic event or repetitive microinjury to the spinal cord.
Prospective multi-center cohort study.
To compare the neurological and functional recovery between tetraplegic Brown-Séquard-plus syndrome (BSPS) and incomplete tetraplegia (non-BSPS).
European Multicenter Study of Human Spinal Cord Injury (EM-SCI).
BSPS was defined as a traumatic incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) with ipsilateral weakness and contralateral loss of pinprick sensation at neurologic levels C2-T1. Acute (0-15 days) and chronic phase (6 or 12 months) were assessed for the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) sensory scores, upper extremity motor scores and lower extremity motor scores. Furthermore, chronic phase scores of all Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) II items were analyzed. Differences in neurological and functional outcome between BSPS patients and non-BSPS patients were calculated using Student's t-tests and Wilcoxon signed rank tests.
Out of 148 tetraplegic patients, 30 were diagnosed with BSPS. Patients with an ASIA impairment scale (AIS) B were significantly (P<0.001) more identified in non-BSPS patients (25%) compared with BSPS patients (3%), respectively. After 12 months, the median scores for sphincter management of the bladder for both BSPS and non-BSPS patients were 15. Both 25 and 75% quartile median scores were 15 for BSPS patients and 12 and 15 for non-BSPS patients (P<0.02). Except for the difference in bladder function, no significant differences were identified in other SCIM II subitems and ASIA motor or sensory scores between BSPS and non-BSPS patients when stratified for injury severity by excluding AIS B patients.
Compared with incomplete tetraplegic patients, patients with cervical BSPS have a similar neurological and functional recovery when matched for the AIS.
Prospective cohort study.
To characterize the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of glial fibrillary acidic protein, neuron specific enolase (NSE), S-100β, tau and neurofilament heavy chain (NFH) within 24 h of an acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), and to correlate these concentrations with the baseline severity of neurologic impairment as graded by the American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale (AIS).
A lumbar puncture was performed to obtain CSF from 16 acute traumatic SCI patients within 24 h post injury. Neurological examinations were performed within 24 h of injury and again at 6 or 12 months post injury. The correlations between the CSF concentrations and initial AIS were calculated by using Pearson correlation coefficients. In addition, an independent Student's t-test was used to test for differences in CSF concentrations between patients of different AIS grades.
The CSF NSE concentrations were significantly correlated with the baseline neurologic impairment being either 'motor complete' (AIS A, B) or 'motor incomplete' (AIS C, D) (r=0.520, P<0.05). The mean S-100β concentration in motor complete patients was significantly higher compared with motor incomplete patients; 377.2 μg l(-1) (s.d.±523 μg l(-1)) vs 57.1 μg l(-1) (s.d.±56 μg l(-1)) (P<0.05), respectively. Lastly, the mean NFH concentration in motor complete patients was significantly higher compared with motor incomplete patient, 11 813 ng l(-1) (s.d.±16 195 ng l(-1)) vs 1446.8 ng l(-1) (s.d.±1533 ng l(-1)), (P<0.05), respectively.
In this study we identified differences in the structural CSF biomarkers NSE, S-100β and NFH between motor complete and motor incomplete SCI patients. Our data showed no clear differences in any of the protein concentrations between the different AIS grades.
This is an open randomized controlled trial.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a 16-week hybrid cycle versus handcycle exercise program on fitness and physical activity in inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury (SCI).
The study was conducted in two rehabilitation centers with a specialized SCI unit.
Twenty individuals (SCI⩾8 years) were randomly assigned to a hybrid cycle (voluntary arm exercise combined with functional electrical stimulation (FES)-induced leg exercise) or a handcycle group. During 16 weeks, both groups trained twice a week for 30 min at 65-75% heart rate reserve. Outcome measures obtained before, during and after the program were fitness (peak power output, peak oxygen consumption), submaximal VO2 and heart rate (HR), resting HR, wheelchair skill performance time score) and physical activity (distance travelled in wheelchair and Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD) score). Changes were examined using a two-factor mixed-measures analysis of variance.
For all fitness parameters, except for submaximal VO2, no interaction effects were found. The hybrid cycle group showed a decrease in VO2 over time in contrast to the handcycle group (P=0.045). An overall reduction in HRrest (5±2 b.p.m.; P=0.03) and overall increase in PASIPD score (6.5±2.1; P=0.002) were found after 16 weeks of training. No overall training effects were found for the other fitness and activity outcome measures.
In the current study, hybrid cycling and handcycling showed similar effects on fitness and physical activity, indicating that there seem to be no additional benefits of the FES-induced leg exercise over handcycle training alone.
Retrospective cohort study.
To quantify the hand function of C6 and C7 tetraplegics 1 - 16 years after injury.
Patients were assessed in their homes.
Medical records of patients admitted to the Prince Henry Hospital Spinal Injuries Unit between 1984 and 1999 were used to identify all patients with C6 or C7 tetraplegia at 3 months post injury. Sixty-five patients (107 hands) were identified in this way. Forty-seven patients (81 hands) were located and agreed to partake in the study, and seven (nine hands) had died. Thus 81% of patients (83% of hands) still alive at follow-up were assessed.
Unilateral hand function was assessed with the Grasp and Release Test (GRT) and a 10 item Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Test. Prevalance and severity of contractures, lateral grasp (key grip) strength and extensibility of the extrinsic finger flexor muscles were also determined.
All hands except one had been managed without surgical intervention. The median number of ADL tasks successfully completed was 9/10 (interquartile range=8 - 10) and the median number of objects successfully manipulated in the GRT was 3/6 (IQ range=3 - 5). Lateral grasp was poor (74% and 75% of hands could not use a lateral grasp to move the paperweight or depress the fork in the GRT, respectively), and the prevalence of contractures was low (53% of hands had full passive range of motion).
In the long term, most C6 and C7 tetraplegics attain a high level of hand function despite poor lateral grasps.
Retrospective clinical study.
To assess the method of primary surgical closure of pressure sores developed by the Ruixin Hospital for burns.
The study included 235 grade IV pressure sores of 160 patients, M:F = 119:41. Their age ranged from 19 to 93 years (mean = 47.4, s.d. ± 15.7). The primary disease was spinal cord injury in 141 patients (88.1%). The location of sore spread over ischial, sacrococcygeal and trochanteric regions. The largest pressure sore measured 15 × 25 cm(2). The time from onset of sore to admission ranged from 3 months to 22 years (mean = 35.5 months, s.d. ± 55.8). Local preoperative preparation included external skin traction using adhesive tapes, wound cleaning and change of dressing. General condition was checked and improved by supportive measures. Operation procedures included thorough debridement, excision of hidden minor scars, mobilizing opposing skin flaps and meticulous haemostasis before closure. Skin traction continued after the operation until the wound was healed.
All but 10 sores healed primarily. These 10 sores healed after a revision. The length of stay in hospital ranged from 20 to 140 days (mean = 45.1 days, s.d. ± 21.1). Follow-up period was 2-51 months (mean = 22 months, s.d. ± 12.5). Two ischial sores recurred owing to long sitting. They were cured with the same method. Three illustrative cases are presented.
The method is simple and enjoys a high success rate with a short stay in hospital and hence is cost effective. The recurrence is rare.
Pott's paraplegic patients with severe spinal deformity were reviewed retrospectively after being treated with chemotherapy and/or decompressive surgery.
To determine the most appropriate treatment protocol and to predict the prognosis for Pott's paraplegics with severe spinal deformity.
Catholic University of Korea Medical Center and Moon-Kim's Institute of Orthopedic Research, Seoul, Korea from 1971 to 1996.
In this study, there were 33 patients (eight children and 25 adults), ranging from 13 to 56 years of age. They developed spinal tuberculosis at the age of 9 years (range, 2-29 years), and remained neurologically symptom free from an average of 16 years (range, 4-27 years). Four adults who responded well to treatment initially suffered relapses of paraplegia. Only six patients had previously received a full course of triple chemotherapy. Seven (two children, five adults) had healed disease, and 26 (six children, 20 adults) had active disease. Eleven cases had frequent drainage from the sinuses. Kyphoscoliosis was found in 11 patients: four children and seven adults. The remaining patients had kyphosis only. Among the 26 patients with active tuberculosis, 10 had triple chemotherapy itself and the rest had additional decompression surgery (10 anterior and six posterior). All seven patients with healed tuberculosis were subjected only to surgery (two anterior and five posterior).
In seven patients with healed tuberculosis, surgery did not improve neurologically except in one child patient. In four patients, the severity of paralysis remained unchanged and two patients, deteriorated neurologically after surgery. In six children with active tuberculosis, there were remarkable neurological recoveries by either conservative treatment or surgical decompression. Seven adults with active tuberculosis recovered slowly, improving by one or two Frankel grades (three Frankel C, three D, one E). In 11 out of 13 surgically treated adults with active disease, paralysis that had persisted for less than 3 months gradually improved by one or two Frankel grades. One Frankel A and one Frankel B paraplegic patients who had paralysis that had lasted through 6 months did not recover after surgery.
The neurological recovery of Pott's paraplegics with severe spinal deformity resulted in three different outcomes: (1) severe deformity is different from moderate and mild deformities; (2) patients with healed tuberculosis had poorer prognosis than patients with active tuberculosis; (3) children had better prognosis than adults. Furthermore, patients with paralysis persisting over 6 months did not recover neurologically after surgery.
Retrospective cohort study.
Anejaculation is commonly found in spinal cord injured (SCI) men. Clinical treatments and assisted reproductive techniques allow SCI men to father children but few home pregnancies have been reported. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the results from the last 20 years' of treatment with penile vibratory stimulation (PVS) and vaginal self-insemination at home in SCI men and their partners.
The data originate from two European centers and one American center.
A total of 140 SCI men with anejaculation and their healthy partners were available for this analysis. Men who obtained antegrade ejaculation by PVS and had motile sperm in the ejaculate were offered the possibility of PVS combined with vaginal self-insemination at home. Couples were instructed to perform PVS and to instill the ejaculate intravaginally. Outcome measures were pregnancy rate per couple, number of live births, total motile sperm count and time to pregnancies.
Median total motile sperm count was 29 million (range, 1-92 million). In all, 60 of the 140 couples (43% pregnancy rate) achieved 82 pregnancies. Seventy-two of the pregnancies resulted in live births with the delivery of 73 healthy babies. Median time to first pregnancy was 22.8 months (6.0-98.4). No complications were reported.
PVS combined with vaginal self-insemination may be performed as a viable, inexpensive option for assisted conception in couples in whom the SCI male partner has an adequate total motile sperm count and the female partner is healthy.
Case report and literature review.
Outpatient review in the UK on a young male from the USA.
To report on a healthy young male who developed an incomplete paraplegia following flexion of the cervical spine after surgery to relieve tracheal stenosis.
Spinal cord injury following prolonged flexion of the cervical spine after surgery to relieve tracheal stenosis can cause paraplegia. The postulated mechanism is traction upon the thoracic cord.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy, reliability, safety, and efficacy of the Codman Model 3000 Constant Flow Implantable Infusion Pump for intrathecal baclofen delivery as a therapeutic option for the treatment of severe spasticity. The distinctive features of this pump include a raised, easily palpable septum, a safety valve protecting the bolus pathway, no programmer needed, and no battery to fail.
A total of 17 patients with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy were implanted with this pump. The accuracy of the pump and drug treatment efficacy was determined at each visit and adjustments to the dosages were made as required. All the intrathecal drug delivery system complications were reviewed.
The expected efficacy was achieved. The accuracy of the implanted pumps ranged from 90-97% (average 94%). There were no complications due to primary pump problems. The complications reported are similar to other implantable infusion devices and include dehiscence of the suture line, pressure ulcer development, formation of seroma, inversion of the pump, baclofen overdose, and catheter failures.
The Codman Model 3000 Constant Flow Implantable Infusion Pump is an accurate, reliable, and convenient option for patients needing intrathecal baclofen therapy, with complications similar to other available pumps.
Collecting and analyzing all possible documents by internet, and consulting medical libraries in different countries.
To focus on the work of Ollivier d'Angers who, in the beginning of the 19th century, spent most of his professional life studying the spinal cord, marrow (SM), or medulla spinalis, and publishing the first comprehensive treatise on the subject in 1824.
ParaDoc database, Swiss Paraplegic-Centre, 6207 Nottwil, Switzerland, in collaboration with Paul Dollfus, ISCoS/Paradoc, Mulhouse, France.
Some of d'Angers's clinical descriptions, observations and also pathologic findings, described in the successive editions of his treatise, were very much in advance of his time.
To our knowledge, this was the first comprehensive treatise, in 1824, at least in France. It gave a clear picture on the matter of the SM and in that period of medical history.
To determine [(18)F]-fluorodeoxyglucose ([(18)F]-FDG) uptake in the spinal cord of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) was compared with healthy controls after treadmill walking.
Colorado Translational Research Imaging Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.
Eight mildly disabled patients with MS and eight healthy subjects performed 15 min of treadmill walking at a self-selected pace. Two minutes after walking began, each participant was injected with ≈8 mCi of [(18)F]-FDG into a catheter inserted into an antecubital vein. Immediately after walking positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging was performed on each participant. Images were analyzed to determine [(18)F]-FDG uptake within the spinal cord.
Total spinal cord [(18)F]-FDG uptake was lower in patients with MS (1.48±0.36 and 1.55±0.33, P=0.04), specifically within the thoracic (1.32±0.27 and 1.41±0.24, P<0.01) and the lumbar (1.58±0.40 and 1.89±0.43, P=0.04) spinal cord regions.
This is the first report of [(18)F]-FDG uptake in the spinal cord of patients with MS. The decreased [(18)F]-FDG uptake within the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord regions could be associated with autonomic nervous system and walking/motor dysfunctions that are often seen in patients with MS. PET/CT imaging with [(18)F]-FDG is highly useful for the demonstration of impaired glucose metabolism in the spinal cord of patients with MS.
Multi-centre, single cohort.
To assess the needs, perceived environmental barriers, level of participation and psychological function of spinal cord injured patients living in the community 3-18 months after discharge.
The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville, UK.; Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre, Sheffield UK.; Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries, Oswestry, UK.
Participants sustaining injury aged 18 or above were recruited from one of three spinal cord injuries units 3-18 months after discharge. Postal packs containing questionnaires, consent forms and information were distributed and a 2-week reminder was sent.
Main findings showed community needs to be generally well addressed however psychosocial needs were rated significantly lower than physical. Responses suggested no environmental impact on participation levels, however, qualitative data highlighted delays in accommodation, adaptations and availability of equipment to interfere with transition to community living. A substantial amount of respondents reported significant impact on independence and activity from secondary conditions and pain. Nearly all the sample reported dissatisfaction with their sexual life and these needs were not well addressed.
Societal participation continues to be affected by secondary conditions and pain, whereas delays in equipment and structural adaptations impact on the transition to community living. Sexual needs and problems remain an issue for the spinal cord injured population and a need which is left unaddressed in the community.
Only few studies have been published about diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) within 24 h of traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI).
The purpose of this study was to compare the imaging findings from conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DWI in seven tSCI patients with findings in the existing literature.
Seven patients with tSCI at neurologic levels C2-T10 were examined with conventional MRI and DWI within 24 h post-injury. DWI was obtained with a b-factor of 1000 s mm(-2). American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) scores and Spinal Cord Independence Measurement (SCIM) II item 12 after 12 months were collected. In addition, MEDLINE was searched from 1995 to 2010 to identify clinical tSCI studies reporting on MRI, DWI and apparent diffusion coefficient maps within 24 h post-injury to perform a meta-analysis. Images obtained with a b-factor of 1000 s mm(-2) were compared with lower b-factors. Differences were calculated using χ (2) tests.
No associations were identified between the images of the seven tSCI patients and ASIA or SCIM II scores. Eighteen SCI patients (11 from the retrieved publications) were included in the meta-analysis. The detection rates of hyperintense signals on T2-weighted and DW imaging did not show significant differences at 94 and 72%, respectively. In addition, there were no significant differences in detection rates or diffusion abnormalities between subjects in whom DW images were obtained with a maximum b-factor of 1000 or <1000 s mm(-2).
Our analysis suggests that T2-weighted and DW imaging have comparable detection rates for spinal cord damage in tSCI patients within 24 h post-injury.
Study design: Review of five cases of post-traumatic syringomyelia originally described between 1898-1920. Objectives: To describe the earliest presentation of post-traumatic syringomyelia and to compare to modern day views of this condition. Setting: Historical review. Results: Pathogenesis and interpretation of the findings are discussed in the light of current knowledge. Conclusion: Credit for the first description of post-traumatic syringomyelia (in 1898) should go to W Wagner and P Stolper.
We reviewed the medical records of 45 paraplegic patients discharged with long leg calipers, during the 10 year period 1973-82, from the Rehabilitation Hospital in Hornbaek, Denmark. A follow-up interview was carried out during 1993-94 for all 40 patients who were still alive. Thirty had complete paraplegia (seven women) and 10 had incomplete paraplegia (two women). At the follow-up interview only three were still using their calipers. The main reasons for giving up the use of calipers was, in 38%, that it was too time consuming to put them on and take them off. For 22% the main reason was a fear of falling, while 19% reported that the calipers were impractical, as their hands had to be occupied in keeping balance and therefore could not be used for other purposes, including carrying items. The three paraplegic patients who did not totally give up the use of long leg calipers used them very little, at a maximum once a week. In contrast all 10 paraplegic patients who had been provided with a standing frame made use of this at least once a month. The majority of the remaining subjects were interested in having a standing frame. We therefore believe that a standing frame could be a good alternative to long leg calipers to facilitate standing for spinal cord injured patients.
Consecutive case series with 5-year follow-up.Objective:To evaluate the spinal cord injury (SCI) model systems program in the United States by documenting improvements in treatment outcomes over time.
SCI model systems throughout the United States.
Initial data were collected on 24 332 patients injured between 1973 and 2006. Follow-up data were collected on 9225 of these patients 5 years post-injury. All data were grouped by calendar year. Descriptive statistics included means and percentages. Multiple linear or logistic regression was used to assess outcome trends after adjusting for demographics and injury severity.
Acute care and rehabilitation lengths of stay declined dramatically over time (P<0.01). Mean functional independence measure motor score at discharge and gain during rehabilitation decreased, whereas gain per day increased (P<0.01). The probability of neurologic improvement from admission to discharge increased. Odds of medical complications decreased during in-patient treatment, but increased post-discharge (P<0.05). Rehospitalizations declined over time (P<0.01). Community integration improved. First year mortality rates improved, but longer term mortality rates showed no improvement since 1982.
Steady improvements have occurred for many treatment outcomes. Newer and more effective methods of prevention and treatment need to be developed to target those outcomes that have not improved and remain suboptimal.
Retrospective population-based epidemiological study.
To assess the nationwide, population-based incidence, causes, age, gender, extent and prevalence of spinal cord injuries (SCIs) in Iceland from 1975 to 2009.
Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland, the single referral center for SCIs in Iceland.
A retrospective review of hospital records on all admissions due to SCIs. Analysis of incidence, causes, age, gender, extent of injury and prevalence.
A total of 207 patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) were admitted: males 72%, females 28%. The percentage of females with TSCI increased to 37% in 2000-2004. Mean age at injury was 38 years. Average incidence per million population per year was 30 in 1975-1979, 12.5 in 1995-1999 and 33.5 in 2005-2009. Thirty-day mortality was 6.3%. Causes of injury were road traffic accidents (RTA) in 42.5% of the cases; the majority did not use seatbelts. Falls amounted to 30.9%, with an increase of low falls among the elderly causing incomplete cervical lesions. Sport/leisure activities were the cause in 18.8%, of which 54% occurred after 2000. The main single cause of TSCI in sport/leisure were horse-riding accidents, followed by winter sport accidents, especially among women. Other causes constituted 7.7%. The injury was complete in 39%; cervical lesions were 57% and thoracic/lumbar lesions were 43%. In December 2009, the crude prevalence rate was 526 per million population.
The findings showed a significant increase of TSCI in 2005-2009, especially in sport/leisure accidents and incomplete cervical lesions due to falls among elderly. Prevention strategies need to focus on these risk groups and on seatbelt use.
To evaluate the urologic safety of long-term Credé maneuver as bladder management in spinal cord injured patients.
Seventy-four paraplegics were included in this cross-sectional study. They were injured in the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. All patients have large volume (flaccid) bladders and have practiced the Credé maneuver for more than 20 years to expel urine. Current residual urine volume and urologic complications were investigated.
93.2% of patients have residual urine larger than 100 ml and 50% of cases larger than 300 ml. The prevalence of urologic complications is high: pyuria in 82.4%, urinary lithiasis in 31.3%, ureteral dilatation in 59.5%, hydronephrosis in 35.1% and renal damage in 16.2%. Men are more susceptible to upper urinary tract deterioration than women (P<0.05).
The Credé maneuver is not safe for long-term use in spinal cord injury patients, especially in men.
In some areas of the US the incidence of violence-related spinal cord injuries (SCIs) is double or triple that of 10 years ago. The purpose of this study was to determine if this trend is evident in Arkansas, a small rural state. For the study period 15.3% of traumatic SCIs identified in Arkansas were violence-related. The overall incidence rate of traumatic SCIs in Arkansas declined from 41.11 per million in 1980 to 33.18 per million in 1989. However, the rate of violence-related SCIs rose from 3.5 per million in 1980 to 5.14 in 1989. The incidence of violence-related SCIs in Arkansas did not increase dramatically during the 1980s. However, the incidence of women with violence-related SCIs nearly tripled. With the dramatic rise in violence-related SCIs in women and the decrease in violence-related SCIs in men, the gender gap has been virtually eliminated in violence-related SCIs.
This descriptive analytical ten year (1985-1994) retrospective study assessed the pattern of spinal cord paralysis (SCP) in the Fiji Islands utilising medical rehabilitation hospital data. Fiji Islands is an archipelago of 300 islands in the south western Pacific with a multi-ethnic population of over three quarters of a million. Rehabilitation of all SCP is provided at the Medical Rehabilitation Unit (MRU). Data was collected from medical records of new SCP (n = 140) admitted to MRU and analysed with Epi Info 5 assessing associations between cause and other variables. The incidence of new SCP admitted to the MRU was 18.7/million/year. There were 75 (53.6%) traumatic and 65 (46.4%) non-traumatic SCP. The incidence varied according to gender and ethnicity with Fijian male being at the highest (41.85) risk. Amongst traumatic SCP, 38.7% were due to falls, 25.3% motor vehicle accidents, 20% sports, 8% shallow water dive and 4% each deep sea diving and others, whereas among non-traumatic SCP, 52.3% were due to unknown causes, 32.3% infections, 9.2% neoplasms and 6.2% others. The male/female ratio was 4:1. The 16-30 year age group accounted for 35% of SCP. 31% had tetraplegia and 52.1% had complete lesions. The subset of the sample who experienced traumatic SCP were more likely to be employed, aged between 16-30 years at the time of paralysis and to have complete tetraplegia. Those who experienced incomplete paraplegia were more likely to be unemployed, aged 46-60 years and educated to primary level at the time of paralysis. There was a high proportion of complete spinal lesion when compared with other studies. The incidence of secondary complications such as pressure sores and UTI was also found to be high when compared with other studies. The results support the view that young Fijian males are most prone to sustaining traumatic spinal cord paralysis, and that there is a high incidence of secondary preventable complications. The need for preventative measures and adequate rehabilitation are emphasised.
The records of 219 patients with spinal cord injuries admitted to the Siriraj Hospital. Bangkok from January to December 1994 were reviewed retrospectively. The average patient age was 32.8 years (range = 12-75 years); the male/female ratio was 5.6:1. The most common cause of injury was road traffic accident (50.7%), followed by falls (31%), assault (8.7%) and being hit by moving objects (7.8%). As a result of the injury, 52 (23.7%) patients were tetraplegic, 58 (26.5%) were tetrapapetic, 63 (28.8%) were paraplegic and 46 (21.0%) were paraparetic. The mortality rate was 16%. The leading cause of death was a respiratory complication, accounting for 89% of the total deaths.
The Injury Prevention Committee of the Japan Medical Society of Paraplegia (JMSoP) conducted a nationwide epidemiological survey on spinal cord injury (SCI) using postal questionnaires for 3 years periods from 1990 to 1992, and the annual incidence of the spinal cord injury was estimated as 40.2 per million. From this registry, we investigated SCI related to sports activities. In 3 years, 528 patients were registered and 374 of them had neurological deficits. The incidence was 1.95 per million per annum. Mean age at injury was 28.5 years (10-77), and 88.1% of the patients were males. Diving was the commonest cause of SCI (21.6%), which was followed by skiing (13.4%), football including rugby, American football and soccer (12.7%), sky sports (7.0%), judo (6.8%) and gymnastics (6.6%). Mean age at injury was higher than 30 years in skiing (38.6 years) and sky sports (38.2 years). Cervical injury was predominant in all but sky sports and accounted for 83.5% of SCI. Motor complete paralysis was reported in 35.0% of the patients. Bony injury was observed in 55.9% of the patients; most of the patients who sustained the SCI in diving and sky sports had bony injury, and no bony injury was detected in more than a half of the patients who sustained injuries in skiing, judo or gymnastics. Although the percentage of sports-related SCI was small in the present study as compared to the data from previous reports, it is not difficult to imagine the increase in the number of sports-related SCI. We have launched an injury prevention campaign and are planning to conduct a similar study in future to evaluate the effect of the campaign as well as the changes in the incidence and pattern of SCI.
Hospital-based incidence study.
To assess the incidence of traumatic spinal cord injuries (TSCIs) and TSCI incidence trends in relation to cause, age, gender, level and completeness of injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Centre of Western Denmark.
We reviewed medical records of TSCI patients admitted between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 2012. Proportions, incidence rates and incidence rate ratios were calculated for five time periods; 1990-94, 1995-99, 2000-04, 2005-09 and 2010-12, and were stratified on age, gender, cause, level and completeness of TSCI. TSCI incidence was calculated as the number of new cases divided by person-years at risk.
Included were 691 patients (males 81.9%). Within the study period, median age at time of injury rose from 29.0 to 47.5 years. The overall annual TSCI incidence during the study period 1990-94 to 2010-12 was 10.2 per million person-years at risk and varied from 8.3 to 11.8. The proportion of transport-related injuries fell from 56.9% in the first to 36.8% in the most recent time period. Fall-related injuries rose from 11.1 to 35.5%. The proportion of incomplete tetraplegia increased from 32.0% in the first to 40.5% in the last time period.
The overall TSCI incidence is low and remained stable from 1990 to 2012. The proportion of transport-related injuries fell, while age at time of injury and proportion of fall-related injuries and proportion with incomplete tetraplegia all increased.
This study was designed to test the 1992 International Standards for Neurological and Functional Classification of Spinal Cord Injury. One hundred and six professionals in the field of spinal cord injury attending an instructional course at the 1994 ASIA Meeting participated in the test. Participants completed a pretest and posttest in which they classified two patients who had a spinal cord injury (one with complete tetraplegia and one with incomplete paraplegia) by sensory and motor levels, zone of partial preservation (ZPP), ASIA Impairment Scale and completeness of injury. Between tests, three members of the ASIA Standards Executive Committee gave presentations on the neurological assessment, scoring, scaling and classification of spinal cord injury and a video of the actual examinations of the two cases was viewed. Percent 'correct' (as defined by the ASIA Standards Committee) was calculated for sensory and motor levels, ZPP, ASIA Impairment and completeness. Overall, the analyses showed that participants had very little difficulty in correctly classifying the patient with complete tetraplegia. Pretests scores ranged from 72% (left motor level) to 96% (complete injury), posttest scores from 73% (left motor level) to 100% correct (complete injury). For the patient with incomplete paraplegia (Case 2), scores were considerably lower. Pretest scores ranged from 16% (right motor level) to 95% correct (incomplete injury); posttest scores from 21% (right motor level) to 97% correct (incomplete injury). The results showed that further revisions of the 1992 Standards and more training is needed to ensure accurate classification of spinal cord injury.
To determine the inter-rater reliability in scoring sensory and motor function and in defining sensory and motor levels in incomplete spinal cord injury, using the revised 1992 International Standards for Neurological and Functional Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISCSCI-92) and to determine the effect on raters agreement of one standardising assessment.
Two physicians and two physiotherapists at the Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Karolinska Hospital, classified 23 patients according to the ISCSCI-92. Kappa values were calculated.
Kappa values varied from 0 to 0.83 (poor to very good) for the pin-prick scores, from 0 to 1 for the light touch scores and from 0 to 0.89 for motor function after the standardising assessment. Kappa values for sensory and motor levels were fair to poor after the standardising assessment. The results showed improvement in degree of agreement in 35/46 dermatomes for scoring pin-prick, in 15/42 for light touch, in 14/19 segments for motor function and for three out of four sensory and motor levels.
This study indicates a weak inter-rater reliability for scoring incomplete SCI lesions using the ISCSCI-92.
Retrospective cohort study.
Data on patient outcomes after surgery for spinal cord tumors have been derived from single-institution series. The objective of this study is to report inpatient complications, mortality and outcomes on a national level.
United States, national inpatient care database.
The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to identify 19,017 admissions for resection of a spinal cord tumor in the United States from 1993 to 2002. The effects of patient and hospital characteristics on inpatient outcomes were analyzed using logistic regression.
The in-hospital mortality rate and the complication rate were 0.55 and 17.5%, respectively. Urinary and renal complications (3.7%), postoperative hemorrhages or hematomas (2.5%) and pulmonary complications (2.4%) were the most common complications reported. A single postoperative complication increased the length of stay by 4 days, increased the mortality rate by sixfold and added over $10,000 to hospital charges. Multivariate analysis showed that complications were more likely in African Americans and patients with multiple comorbidities. The odds of an adverse outcome increased significantly with age greater than 64, multiple comorbidities and postoperative complications.
A national perspective on inpatient outcomes after resection of spinal cord tumors has been provided. The significant negative impact of postoperative complications on mortality and resource utilization has been demonstrated. We have identified advanced age and multiple comorbidities as risk factors that predict adverse outcome. Furthermore, this study highlights the importance of avoidance, recognition and prompt management of nonneurologic complications.
Retrospective descriptive study.
To ascertain the incidence of spinal cord injury in The Netherlands.
From all patients, discharged from a Dutch general hospital in 1994 with the ICD-9 diagnosis code 806 (fracture of the spine with injury of the spinal cord) and 952 (injury to the spinal cord without apparent spinal fracture), a copy of the anonymized medical correspondence was requested. The received correspondence was analyzed for the diagnosis of traumatic spinal cord injury with motor, sensory, bladder and bowel symptoms lasting longer than 2 weeks.
479 cases with the ICD-9 codes 806 or 952 were identified. On 329 cases we received information. According to our criteria 126 cases had a spinal cord injury with persisting symptoms. Of these 126 cases 18 died during hospital stay. Sex (77% male), level (57% tetra), completeness (48.7% complete), age distribution, cause of injury and incidence of stabilizing operation (44.2%) were assessed. Mean hospital stay was 31 days and of the subjects who survived the initial hospital phase, 70% were referred to a rehabilitation centre or a rehabilitation ward.
The incidence of spinal cord injury surviving the acute phase in The Netherlands in 1994 was 10.4/million/annum.
The Norwegian Polio Study 1994 was a nation-wide survey of the medical and psychosocial situation of polio survivors.
A questionnaire, consisting of 133 questions with sub-questions, was sent to a total of 2392 polio victims, most of them registered in 'The National Society of Polio Victims' in Norway. 1449 (61%) answered.
To investigate the relationship between early polio experiences, such as duration of hospitalization and perceived support, and later psychosocial well-being.
Three hundred and ninety-one persons (27%) reported they had been psychologically harmed by the treatment received at the time they contracted polio (Harmed group), while 1053 persons (73%) did not (Non-Harmed group). Persons in the Harmed group were significantly younger at polio onset, were hospitalized for a longer period and had less parental visit and support. Today they use more medication, report more pain, general fatigue, sleep disturbance and concentration problems, more psychosocial distress, less satisfaction with life and less social support than persons in the Non-Harmed group.
The results demonstrate that a subgroup of polio survivors has been vulnerable from childhood, with possible consequences for their physical, psychological and social wellbeing later in life. Recommendations for long-life treatment of children with similar diseases should include follow-up not only of their physical disabilities, but also on psychological and psychosocial needs.
Patients with chronic tetraplegia are prone to develop unique clinical problems which require readmission to specialised centres where the health professionals are trained specifically to diagnose, and treat the diseases afflicting this group of patients. An appraisal of the readmission pattern of tetraplegic patients will provide the necessary data for planning allocation of beds for treatment of chronic tetraplegic patients. Hospital records of patients with tetraplegia readmitted to the Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport, UK between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1995 were analyzed to find out the number of tetraplegic patients who required readmission, reasons for readmission, duration of hospital stay, and mortality among patients readmitted. During the 2-year period, 155 tetraplegic patients were readmitted and 44 of them (28.4%) required more than one readmission (total readmission episodes: 221); these patients occupied 4.5 beds which is equivalent to 11.5% of the total bed capacity of the spinal unit. Among the reasons for the readmissions, evaluation and care of urinary tract disorders topped the list with 96 readmission episodes (43.43%) involving 70 patients; the median hospital stay was 3 days, and 18 patients (26%) required more than one readmission during this period. One hospital bed was occupied by the tetraplegic patients requiring treatment/evaluation of urinary tract disorders. Assessment and treatment of cardio-respiratory diseases was the second most common reason for readmission with 51 readmission episodes pertaining to 27 patients having a median hospital stay of 6 days; 13 patients (48%) were readmitted more than once within this 2-year period. Treatment of cardio-respiratory diseases in chronic tetraplegic patients required 1.2 hospital beds yearly. Only five tetraplegic patients were readmitted for treatment of pressure sore(s); however they had a prolonged hospital stay (median duration: 101 days). Social reasons accounted for 13 readmission episodes concerning nine patients who stayed in the hospital for varying periods (median: 6.5 days; mean: 35 days). Four tetraplegic patients readmitted with acute chest infection expired. An 81 year-old tetraplegic died of myocardial infarction. Urinary sepsis, renal insufficiency, respiratory failure and intra-cerebral haemorrhage accounted for the demise of a 41 year-old tetraplegic patient following surgical removal of a large, impacted stone at the pelviureteric junction. A tetraplegic patient who was admitted with haematuria subsequently underwent cystectomy for squamous cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder; he developed secondaries and expired 5 months later. As more patients with high cervical spinal cord injury survive the initial period of trauma, and as the life expectancy of tetraplegic patients increases, it is likely that greater numbers of tetraplegic patients will be requiring readmission to spinal injuries centre. Although it may be possible to prevent some of the complications of spinal cord injury and hence the need for a readmission, progress in medicine and rehabilitation technology will create additional demands for readmissions of chronic tetraplegic patients in order to implement the newer therapeutic strategies. Thus a change in the pattern of readmission of chronic tetraplegic patients is likely to be the future trend and this should be taken into account while making plans for providing the optimum care to chronic tetraplegic patients.
Spinal Cord Lesions are a major public health problem in Bangladesh. This epidemiological study was undertaken in order to identify the causes of spinal cord lesions and thus to allow prevention and control programs to be developed.
The records of 247 patients with spinal cord lesions admitted to The Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Savar, Dhaka from January 1994 to June 1995 were reviewed retrospectively. Comparisons were made with the reports of studies from other countries, both developing and developed.
The most common cause of traumatic lesions was a fall from a height followed by falling when carrying a heavy weight on the head and road traffic accidents. Most of the patients were between 20 - 40 years old and the overall age group ranged from 10 - 70 years. The male:female ratio was 7.5 : 1.0. Among the traumatic spinal cord lesions, 60% were paraplegics and 40% tetraplegics. Among the non-traumatic spinal cord lesions cases 84% were paraplegics and 16% tetraplegics. The leading cause of death resulted from respiratory complications and these deaths occurred in the very early period of admission.
From the results it can be deduced that the high incidence of spinal cord lesion as a result from falls from a height, and from falling when carrying a heavy weight on the head, can be explained by the mainly agricultural based economy of Bangladesh. The most common age group (10 - 40 years) of patients reflects the socio-economic conditions of Bangladesh. The male:female ratio (7.5 : 1.0) of patients with a spinal cord lesion is due to the socio-economic status and to the traditional culture of the society.
'The Norwegian Polio Study 1994' was performed to make a nation-wide survey of the medical and social situation, and of the needs of anterior poliomyelitis (polio). A questionnaire, consisting of 133 questions with sub-questions, was sent to a total of 2392 polio victims, most of them registered in 'The National Society of Polio Victims' in Norway. 1449 persons (61%) answered. Sixty-six per cent were between 45 and 64 years of age, 25% were above 64 years and 9% were under 45 years. When specifying new health problems, 85% stated that they had experienced increased weakness in muscles affected by polio, while 58% had experienced increased weakness in previous non-affected muscles. Other health problems related to polio were fatigue during exercise (80%), general fatigue (57%), joint pain (58%), muscular pain (58%) and cold intolerance (62%). The participants indicated an increasing need of aids, but 80% were still independent of help from others and 57% were still employed, fully or part time. Only 17% were satisfied with the public health services for polio survivors, while 67% of those who had undergone comprehensive examination at some central hospital were satisfied. This study indicates an obvious need of building up expertise in multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment of post polio problems in countries where acute polio has been eliminated.
One of the worst earthquakes hit the Hanshin area between Kobe and Osaka, in the early morning at 5:46 AM on January 17th 1995. The destructive force with MG 7.2 severely damaged buildings, houses, roads and railways, leaving 6500 dead, and 34,900 injured. Hyogo College of Medicine located in this area was also severely damaged, thus there was a major challenge to provide post-quake medical support. A post-quake investigation in this area was done by 50 affiliated hospitals. More than 15,000 victim-patients were treated at these hospitals during the first 3 days after the quake. Major injuries were spinal fractures, and other trunk fractures, including rib or pelvis fractures, but fractures of long bones were uncommon, because the quake hit this area in the early morning when most people were asleep. In this study, the mechanisms of these major injuries were analysed by direct interview soon after the quake, with 230 victim-patients who had 140 spinal fractures, and 100 with rib or pelvis fractures. Most of those who had a spinal fracture had either sat up or stood up on their 'Futon' mattresses without bed frames and were struck on their backs by falling furniture or ceilings. On the other hand, patients who had fractures of the ribs or the pelvis had been lying in the supine or lateral position and were hit on their chest or pelvis. This characteristic lifestyle pattern of the Japanese people to lie down on the floor directly beside furniture, resulted in these injuries. From these results, we will emphasize the following precautions:- If an earthquake occurs during sleeping hours at home, do not stand up or sit up. The best position is to crouch on the 'Futon' mattress.
Modern treatment of sufferers from spinal cord lesions according to the guidelines elaborated by Sir Ludwig Guttmann in the UK started in specialised centres in Germany some 45 years ago. At the present time the incidence is 18 cases/l million/year traumatic and non traumatic. Exact figures are available since 20 years ago. Twenty-one appropriate centres with altogether 1071 beds are able to admit almost all traumatic cases and 30% of non traumatic cases for 'comprehensive treatment'. That includes cervical lesions above C4 as well as patients with polytrauma, intensive care, spinal column surgery, sophisticated urological diagnostic and treatment, physio- and occupational therapy, psychological and social assistance. To fulfill all tasks arising from lifetime care and readmissions there is a need of another 800 beds in specialised centres not dealing with recent cases. The original principle to offer first treatment and life-time follow up 'under one roof' is to be given up as conservative treatment of the broken spine has been continually replaced by spinal surgery done in non specialised primary admitting regional hospitals. Priority is given to the aim to offer similar opportunities to everyone by providing 800 additional beds in new specialised centres.