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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2008 December;52(4):107-12


lingua: Inglese

Acute traumatic central cord syndrome: analysis of clinical and radiological correlations

Miranda P., Gomez P., Alday R.

Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital 12 de Octubre Madrid, Spain


Aim. In patients with traumatic spinal cord injury, several studies correlate neurological impairment and radiological findings. However, little information is available about this correspondence in the particular group of acute traumatic central cord syndrome. The object of the present work was to describe the clinical and radiological features of a series of patients presenting with acute traumatic central cord syndrome and to analyze clinical and radiological correlations on admission and at last follow-up.
Methods. Retrospective review of 15 patients diagnosed of acute traumatic central cord syndrome between 1995 and 2005. Global motor score and motor score in upper extremities were determined on admission and at last follow-up (6 months-4 years, mean 16 months). Plain films, cervical computed tomography and magnetic resonance (MR) were performed in every patient and retrieved for the study. In seven patients, serial MR studies were performed during follow-up. Clinical and radiological correlations were statistically analyzed with non-parametric tests.
Results. Cervical spondylosis appeared associated with older age, falls, and absence of fracture. Spinal cord edema was the most common finding in MR studies but hemorrhage was also observed. The length of spinal cord edema significantly correlated with initial motor score. The decrease in T2-weighted hyperintensity in serial MR studies correlated with the gain of motor power in upper limbs at last follow-up.
Conclusion. Elderly patients with more degenerated cervical spines commonly develop acute traumatic central cord syndrome after incidental falls. Length of spinal cord edema correlates with neurological impairment on admission and may provide significant prognostic information.

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