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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2004 Sep;25(8):1435-42.

Percutaneous translumbar spinal cord compression injury in dogs from an angioplasty balloon: MR and histopathologic changes with balloon sizes and compression times.

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Department of Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 75390-8896, USA.



Our previous model of spinal cord injury (SCI) included six dogs undergoing 30-minute compression with a balloon in the subarachnoid space. We determined whether various balloon sizes and compression times creates a gradation of injuries.


In 17 dogs (including our original six), angioplasty balloons 2, 4, or 7 mm in diameter (2 cm long) were inflated at T6 for 30, 120, or 240 minutes. T1- and T2-weighted, gadolinium-enhanced, and short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) MR images were obtained at 1.5 T. Spinal canal occlusion (SCO) was measured as balloon area-spinal cord area. Hematoxylin-eosin and beta amyloid precursor protein staining were performed to demonstrate hemorrhage and axonal injury, respectively. Injuries were scored as mild, moderate, or severe. Trends were assessed with one-way analysis of variance.


SCO was 12.5-20% for 2-mm balloons, 28-56% for 4 mm, and 62-82% for 7 mm. No abnormalities were seen with SCO <30%. T1- and T2-weighted images had the poorest diagnostic performance; STIR images were best for predicting hemorrhage and axonal injury. Hemorrhage was demonstrated more frequently than was axonal injury. SCO (P < .0001) and hemorrhage (P = .002) significantly increased with balloon size. Longer inflation times tended to increase injuries for a given size, but differences were not significant.


Compression injuries depended on the level of SCO. The compression times tested had less effect than the degree of compression. The value of 1.5-T MR imaging varied with the sequence and improved with contrast enhancement. STIR images showed SCIs not otherwise detected.

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