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Spinal Cord. 2010 Sep;48(9):657-63. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.72. Epub 2010 Jun 29.

Diagnostic criteria of traumatic central cord syndrome. Part 2: a questionnaire survey among spine specialists.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



A questionnaire survey.


To evaluate the need for the introduction of quantitative diagnostic criteria for the traumatic central cord syndrome (TCCS).


An online questionnaire survey with participants from all over the world.


An invitation to participate in an eight-item online survey questionnaire was sent to surgeon members of AOSpine International.


Out of 3340 invited professionals, 157 surgeons (5%) from 41 countries completed the survey. Whereas most of the respondents (75%) described greater impairment of the upper extremities than of the lower extremities in their own TCCS definitions, symptoms such as sensory deficit (39%) and bladder dysfunctions (24%) were reported less frequently. Initially, any difference in motor strength between the upper and lower extremities was considered most frequently (23%) as a 'disproportionate' difference in power. However, after presenting literature review findings, the majority of surgeons (61%) considered a proposed difference of at least 10 points of power (based on the Medical Research Council scale) in favor of the lower extremities as an acceptable cutoff criterion for a diagnosis of TCCS. Most of the participants (40%) felt that applying a single criterion to the diagnosis of TCCS is insufficient for research purposes.


Various definitions of TCCS were used by physicians involved in the spinal trauma care. The authors consider a difference of at least 10 motor score points between upper and lower extremity power a clear diagnostic criterion. For clinical research purposes, this diagnostic criterion can be considered as a face valid addendum to the commonly applied TCCS definition as introduced by Schneider et al.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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