Introduction: Central cord syndrome is both economically and emotionally devastating. Outcome modifiers of central cord is a controversialissue
Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed in patients being treated for central cord syndrome at University of Arizona Medical Center. Patients were evaluated into two categories based on surgically versus medically managed, outcomes were compared using modified Frankel Classification.
Results: Median age was 46 years with males and females being 49.5 and 35.5 respectively. 74% underwent surgery, 26% were treated non-operatively. Median age for surgery 46, 44 for non-operative. The average patient was a 50 year old white male who suffered a motor vehicle collision and underwent surgery within 1 day after presenting at the hospital. Forty three percent, of the surgery group, presented with a score of 1 or 2 (quadriplegia or paraplegia) and upon follow up that was reduced to 40%. The remaining 57% had a score of 3 or 4 (impairment or weakness) which was reduced to 38% with the final 22% returning to normal function. In the medically treated group, only 8% returned to normal function with almost no improvement in patients who presented with a score of 2 or 3 (paraplegia or impairment).
Conclusions: 50 cases of acute traumatic central cord syndrome treated at a level-one-trauma-institution over 5 years. Demographic data is in keeping with previously reported series, such as: age as it relates to outcome, higher ambulation in younger, mechanism of injury, superiority of surgical intervention, involvement of ethanol upon admission.
Learning Objectives: Central cord can be quite a debilitating pathology and much wider study is needed for improved recommendations on type of treatment and timing.