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J Clin Med. 2020 Feb 26;9(3). pii: E624. doi: 10.3390/jcm9030624.

The Relationship Between Gastrointestinal Comorbidities, Clinical Presentation and Surgical Outcome in Patients with DCM: Analysis of a Global Cohort.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0515, USA.
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 100068, Japan.
Neuroscience Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8082, USA.


Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of spinal cord impairment in adults, presenting most frequently in patients 50 years or older. Gastrointestinal comorbidities (GICs) commonly occur in this group; however, their relationship with DCM has not been thoroughly investigated. It is the objective of the present study to investigate the difference between patients with or without GICs who are surgically treated for DCM. A cohort of 757 patients with clinical data and 458 with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from the AOSpine North America and AOSpine International studies on DCM was evaluated. GICs were obtained at presentation and included gastric, intestinal, hepatic, and pancreatic conditions. Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: those with GICs and those without GICs. Both clinical and MRI presentation, as well as baseline neurological and functional status, were compared. Neurological and functional outcomes at 2-year follow-up were also compared. GICs were present in 121 patients (16%). These patients were less commonly male (48.76% vs. 65.4%, p = 0.001) and were slightly less neurologically impaired based on the Nurick grade (3.05 ± 1.10 vs. 3.28 ± 1.16, p = 0.044) but not based on mJOA (12.74 ± 2.62 vs. 12.48 ± 2.76, p = 0.33). They also had a worse physical health score (32.80 ± 8.79 vs. 34.65 ± 9.38 p = 0.049), worse neck disability (46.31 ± 20.04 vs. 38.23 ± 20.44, p < 0.001), a lower prevalence of upper motor neuron signs (hyperreflexia, 70.2% vs. 78.9%, p = 0.037; Babinski's sign 24.8% vs. 37.3%, p = 0.008), and a higher rate of psychiatric comorbidities (31.4% vs. 10.4%, p < 0.0001). On MRI, GIC patients less commonly exhibited signal intensity changes (T2 hyperintensity, 49.2% vs. 75.6%, p < 0.001; T1 hypointensity, 9.7% vs. 21.1%, p = 0.036), and had a lower number of T2 hyperintensity levels (0.82 ± 0.98 vs. 1.3 ± 1.11, p = 0.001). There was no difference in surgical outcome between the groups. DCM patients with GICs are more likely to be female and have significantly more general health impairment and neck disability. However, these patients have less clinical and MRI features typical of more severe neurological impairment. This constellation of symptoms is considerably different than those typically observed in DCM, and it is therefore plausible that nutritional factors may contribute to this unique observation.


anterior; cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM); multicenter; posterior; prospective

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