TITLE: Acute management of spinal cord injury.
AUTHORS: Delamarter RB; Coyle J
ABSTRACT: Demographic trends in the occurrence of injury and improvements in the early management of spinal trauma are changing the long-term profile of patients with spinal cord injuries. More patients are surviving the initial injury, and proportionately fewer patients are sustaining complete injuries. While preventive efforts to reduce the overall incidence of spinal cord injury are important, a number of steps can be taken to minimize secondary injury once the initial trauma has occurred. Recent efforts have focused on understanding the biochemical basis of secondary injury and developing pharmacologic agents to intervene in the progression of neurologic deterioration. The Third National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study investigators concluded that methylprednisolone improves neurologic recovery after acute spinal cord injury and recommended that patients who receive methylprednisolone within 3 hours of injury should be maintained on the treatment regimen for 24 hours. When methylprednisolone therapy is initiated 3 to 8 hours after injury, it should continue for 48 hours. In addition to the adoption of the guidelines of that study, rapid reduction and stabilization of injuries causing spinal cord compression are critical steps in optimizing patients' long-term neurologic and functional outcomes.
SOURCE: J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1999 May-Jun;7(3):166-75