Spinal Cord Syndromes
- Complete cord syndrome:
- Total loss of sensory, autonomic, and voluntary motor innervation distal to the spinal cord level of injury
- Usually caused by trauma, but other causes include infarction, hemorrhage, and extrinsic compression
- Symptoms that remain >24 hr are generally permanent
- Incomplete spinal cord lesions:
- Characterized by preservation of some spinal cord function
- 3 major types: Central cord syndrome, Brown-Séquard, and anterior cord syndrome
- Central cord syndrome:
- Most common of the incomplete spinal cord syndromes
- Classically occurs in elderly patients, with pre-existing cervical stenosis, who suffer a hyperextension injury in a fall
- Anterior cord syndrome:
- Most commonly associated with occlusion of the anterior spinal artery which can occur after aortic surgery or trauma. Other causes include hypotension and infection
- Brown-Séquard syndrome:
- Hemisection of the spinal cord, classically as a result of a penetrating injury
- Rarely unilateral cord compression
- Conus medullaris syndrome:
- Injury at the level of L1 or L2
- Causes include central disc herniation, neoplasm, and direct trauma
- Cauda equina syndrome:
- Injury to the nerve roots of the cauda equine and not the spinal cord itself
- Causes include central disc herniation and direct trauma
- Clinically, can resemble conus medullaris syndrome
- Spinal cord syndromes result from localized disruption of neurotransmission and exhibit mixed motor and sensory deficits. The most common mechanism is trauma
- Patients with arthritis, osteoporosis, metastatic disease, or other chronic spinal disorders are at risk of developing spinal injuries as the result of minor trauma
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Schaider, Jeffrey J., et al., editors. "Spinal Cord Syndromes." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307030/1.0/Spinal_Cord_Syndromes.
Spinal Cord Syndromes. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307030/1.0/Spinal_Cord_Syndromes. Accessed June 8, 2023.
Spinal Cord Syndromes. (2016). In Schaider, J. J., Barkin, R. M., Hayden, S. R., Wolfe, R. E., Barkin, A. Z., Shayne, P., & Rosen, P. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307030/1.0/Spinal_Cord_Syndromes
Spinal Cord Syndromes [Internet]. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, Wolfe RER, Barkin AZA, Shayne PP, Rosen PP, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2023 June 08]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307030/1.0/Spinal_Cord_Syndromes.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Spinal Cord Syndromes ID - 307030 ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307030/1.0/Spinal_Cord_Syndromes PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -