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J Spinal Disord. 1998 Jun;11(3):192-6.

Neurologic deterioration after cervical spinal cord injury.

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Orthopaedic Surgery Clinic, Uniformed Services, University of the Health Service, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA.


Neurologic deterioration after cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) at a regional spinal cord center was examined. This study examined the incidence of neurologic deterioration as well as associated risk factors in our patient population. Up to 5.8% of cervical SCI patients have been noted to deteriorate neurologically after admission. Risk factors have been early surgery, halo application, traction, and Stryker frame rotation. All cervical SCI patients admitted between 1978 and 1993 who had neurologic deterioration were studied for characteristics of their event, operative status, risk factors, mortality, and neurologic return at 1 year postinjury. Patients were divided into minor and major groups based on the degree of neurologic loss. Nineteen of 1,031 patients were identified as neurologically deteriorated (1.84%). There were 8 major and 11 minor group patients. The average time from injury to deterioration was 3.95 days. Of 10 patients undergoing surgery at < or =5 days, 8 deteriorated postoperatively. Potential risk factors were ankylosing spondylitis (three patients), sepsis (four patients), and intubation (four patients). Neurologic recovery at 1 year showed that 11 of 12 patients were improved. Neurologic deterioration occurred in 1.84% of our patients. Deteriorations were associated with surgery at <5 days after injury, ankylosing spondylitis, sepsis, and intubation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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