The changing landscape of spinal cord injury

Neringa Juknis, Justin M. Cooper, Oksana Volshteyn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In the past quarter century, spinal cord injury medicine has welcomed the proliferation of new medications and technologies that improve the survival and quality of life for people with spinal cord injury, but also endured the failure of strategies we hoped would salvage the cord in the acute phase. Surgical decompression and spinal stabilization should be pursued whenever indicated and feasible; however, there is no compelling evidence that early decompression facilitates neurological improvement. Methylprednisolone, the subject of over two decades of trials, has proven to be of marginal benefit in improving functional outcome.Recent advances in the management of the respiratory, cardiovascular, autonomic, endocrine, skeletal and integumentary systems have not only changed morbidity and survival of spinal cord injury patients but also improved quality of life.Progress has been made in the early diagnosis and effective treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, neurogenic shock, autonomic dysreflexia and orthostatic hypotension. Aggressive respiratory care for high cervical level of injury patients should include an option for phrenic nerve pacing as it is a viable rehabilitative strategy for appropriately selected patients. Pressure ulcers remain a significant psychological, financial, and functional burden for many people with SCI and for healthcare providers. This area will continue to require further work on early prevention and education. Despite extensive scientific and clinical data on neurogenic osteoporosis, there is no consensus regarding the best pharmacotherapeutic agents, dosing regimens, or rehabilitative strategies for prevention and treatment of bone loss. This chapter will focus on the advances.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752


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