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Spinal Treatment May Not Improve Neurologic Recovery

Last Updated: September 17, 2009.

Treatment with high-dose methylprednisolone sodium succinate does not improve neurologic recovery in patients who have suffered acute spinal cord injury and increases the risk of pneumonia as a complication, according to a study in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with high-dose methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MPSS) does not improve neurologic recovery in patients who have suffered acute spinal cord injury and increases the risk of pneumonia as a complication, according to a study in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

Yasuo Ito, M.D., of the Kobe Red Cross Hospital in Japan, and colleagues treated all patients who presented with cervical cord injury during 2003 to 2005 with MPSS, following the protocol of the Second National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study. During the subsequent period of 2005 to 2007, all patients were not treated with MPSS. Patient improvement in the two groups was evaluated and compared using the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) motor score.

Three months after treatment, the researchers found that the average improvement in ASIA motor score in the MPSS-treated group was 12.4 points compared to 13.8 points in the group not treated with MPSS. Among patients with complete motor loss, the average ASIA motor score improved 9.0 points in the MPSS group and 12.6 points in the non-MPSS group, while among patients with partial motor loss, the average ASIA motor scores improved 14.1 and 15.5 points, respectively. Nineteen patients in the MPSS group contracted pneumonia compared to 11 patients in the non-MPSS group.

"We found no evidence supporting the opinion that high-dose MPSS administration facilitates neurologic improvement in patients with spinal cord injury. We believe MPSS should be used under limited circumstances because of the high incidence of pulmonary complication," the authors conclude.

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